Nestled into the slope of the dormant Palo Huérfano volcano in central Mexico, Casa Etérea is a passion project of Singapore writer, photographer and designer Prashant Ashoka. The mirrored dwelling is not only self-sustaining but environmentally friendly, too.
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Casa Etérea is located just 20 minutes from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors arrive via four-wheel-drive transport from town, provided as part of the lodging package. Upon arrival, Casa Etérea makes a memorable statement with its mirrored exterior. Not only does the glass reflect the surrounding hillsides and mesquite trees for the human eye, but a special patterned, ultraviolet coating allows birds to see it as a structure, thus eliminating impact risks. The name Etérea translates from Spanish to ethereal, deepening the emphasis on art, beauty and connection to the natural environment.
Ashoka explained, “The vision was to create a theatre to nature, so sustainability was crucial in achieving a truly complete integration with the environment.”
The structure is completely off of the grid and houses two people comfortably within the 75-square-meter space. Solar panels provide 100% power to the home, which includes plenty of amenities for comfort: a king-sized bed, a luxe living space, a kitchen and laundry facilities. Rainwater is collected and reused for daily activities, including to fill the distinctive copper bathtub located beside the bed. Natural materials such as jute, leather, wood and stone further express the connection with nature.
Ashoka wanted to ensure minimal site impact, so the entire foundation was formed from rocks collected on the surrounding mountain. Careful positioning of the structure allows for effective ventilation, and insulating glass regulates temperature control. This level of energy efficiency doesn’t sacrifice the views offered by the floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors. Once the home is opened to the outdoors, guests can step directly onto a patio and pool area naturally shaded by olive and pomegranate trees.
Meaningful community engagement was also important to Ashoka, who has connected with local providers for activities such as horseback riding, guided hikes and ATV tours. Casa Etérea is available to experience for up to two guests and can be booked directly through Instagram [@casa_eterea].
Images via Prashant Ashoka
Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building