a destination for contemporary nomads
Architect Ludwig Godefroy takes to the coastal area of La Punta Zicatela, Mexico to build a serene retreat dubbed Casa TO. Sculpted in concrete, the architecture marks an oasis along the Pacific Ocean where visitors are invited to be immersed in a ‘state of total contemplation.’ Programmed as a boutique hotel with just nine suites, Casa TO is a ‘manifesto of hospitality for introspection.’ It draws contemporary nomads from around the worlds due to its proximity to the Zicatela Ecological Community. These travelers commonly seek the vast beaches for surfing or even meditating. The group notes that many often visit hoping to help release turtles in the local sanctuaries.
casa to: reinterpreting a serene oaxacan temple
Renowned architect Ludwig Godefroy, designed the Casa TO to express ‘simplicity and conceptual elegance.’ The unique space seeks to unite tradition with the avant-garde, while celebrating the peaceful natural surroundings. Casa TO, takes its name from the driving concept of ‘serene contemplation of an enclosed space,’ looking toward the traditional Oaxacan temple as precedent and offering a contemporary reinterpretation. The architects note that the architecture generates ‘a radical sensory experience upon entering.’
The team continues: ‘The structure evokes the reticulated pattern of two historical hydraulic works of timeless beauty: the Basilica Cistern or Yerebatan Sarayi of Istanbul, dating from the 6th century AD, and the Hornsey Wood Reservoir in Finsbury Park, London, built in the 19th century.’
ludwig godefroy’s vaulted solarium
With Casa TO, Ludwig Godefroy creates a rich interplay of privacy and exposure. The interiors create ‘an oasis enclosed by the sky, the weight of the walls and the vegetation of climbing plants and fruit trees including bananas and passion fruit.’ Aesthetics and functionality are interwoven, expressing the textural raw materials including concrete, steel, clay, and wood.
Casa TO is centered around its covered infinity pool and solarium. With its vaulted volumes, the infinity pool recalls the signature style of Le Corbusier with ‘rectilinear lines, exposed load-bearing walls, lightweight structures, and open-plan interiors.’ Meanwhile, the terraced solarium shows a subdivided organization to create privacy in each area. The neighboring volume houses the hotel suites, and is designed to naturally introduce cool air — a necessity in the hot region. Three rooms on the upper level offer a terrace and outdoor bath, while six rooms are located along the ground floor and integrate gardens.
The team continues: ‘The natural surroundings of Casa TO defined the interior design, inspired by the natural pattern of a Madagascar Blue Bismarck palm tree (Bismarckia Nobilis) standing on the original site. The chosen color palette combines the natural tones of concrete and stainless steel with turquoise hues –appreciated in the metalwork, the lamps by Natural Urbano studio, and other decorative details–, and nuances of yellow, blue, and green.
‘Furniture built by expert carpenters from Puebla, Guadalajara, and Oaxaca conveys a sense of simplicity and delicacy and, together with the bamboo pieces designed by Tiago Solís Van Beuren, emphasizes the textures while bringing character to the spaces. These unique pieces, which display the richness and creativity of talented local artisans, may be purchased by guests under a fairtrade model, enabling them to introduce exceptional objects into their daily lives.’
‘At Casa TO consciousness and sustainability are seen as fundamental aspects of luxury living today, and expressed in its commitment to reducing its environmental impact with actions including: a water treatment plant to reuse wastewater for the planted areas; solar panels to store energy; and a zero-plastics policy.’