Designed by Campos Leckie Studio, Zacatitos Retreat is the second of a series of desert dwelling prototypes that comprise an ongoing body of research into off-grid living in a relatively extreme climate. All three research sites are located in the remote community of Los Zacatitos, in Baja California Sur, Mexico.
Zacatitos retreat 02 is an architectural experiment that fully explores the concept of architecture as a device which mediates one’s occupation and experience of the landscape. It presents a minimal architectural aesthetic wherein interior and exterior blend seamlessly, lightly demarcated by large operable glazing panels. The detail-oriented minimalism evokes an inevitability that is a direct reflection of the frugality and sparseness that is the ethos of this landscape.
Using a convertible architecture, this project strives to provide a sense of inhabitation of the landscape which affords the luxury of being neither completely inside, nor entirely outside, but somewhere in between. To achieve this, the primary living space features three walls with large operable glazing panels that fully retract, providing the effect of expanding the dwelling almost infinitely into the natural landscape beyond. The concrete topography of the dwelling dematerializes in fragments as it extends into the desert context. The restrained material palette – consisting almost exclusively of glass, concrete, steel, and aluminum – provides a minimal monochromatic landscape that is a direct reflection of the character of the desert.
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