Rafael Ruelas and Abraham Zermeño are two young architects from Puerto Vallarta who recently participated in the Premio Firenze Entremuros 2018, a national contest that recognizes the best of architecture and interior design in Mexico.
Casa Lago, the architectural proposal with which they obtained an outstanding second place in the Best Single-Family Residence category, was up against the projects of outstanding national firms, clearly showing the quality and talent that exists in the region.
The Gestation of a Unique Proposal
“It all began in late 2016 with the construction company’s internal call to present an architectural proposal for the construction of a new luxury residence within the Sierra Lago development in Mascota, Jalisco, which would serve as a prototype to build 11 houses in total,” explains Zermeño.
“Initially, there were four or five proposals developed by some colleagues, but they did not fully convince the owner, and the idea of inviting the other architects of the company to participate with their own house concept was spread. We saw the opportunity, sat down to plan and began to lay the foundations of the project adhering some concepts and principles of design. For example: a simple architecture, a versatile location, framing views to generate ‘natural paintings’ and feel protected by the treetops. Of course, we had to comply with an architectural program and a list of needs,” adds Ruelas.
“Shortly after our proposal was chosen by the construction company’s committee, some colleagues commented on our project: ‘This house has a very particular design.’ Their recommendation, basically, was to project it outside. We decided that Premio Firenze Entremuros 2018 would be the beginning of that projection,” says Ruelas.
“In reviewing the categories, we automatically saw that Casa Lago fit into Best Residential Interior Design and/or Best Single-Family Residence. We opted for the second, and between the two of us we arranged our participation in the contest. In June, there was a cocktail party at the facilities of Grupo Reforma in Mexico City, where the 54 finalists were announced. Later, in September, there was a gala dinner and the first three places in each category were awarded. In total there were 354 firms,” explains Zermeño.
Premio Firenze Entremuros
Firenze (a porcelain tile brand with international scope), in collaboration with Grupo Reforma, held this contest for the second year in a row, awarding the best works carried out between January 2017 and January 2018. The contest was divided into eight categories: Best Single-Family Residence, Best Building/Corporate Complex, Best Multi-Family Residential Building, Best Architecture of a Public Building, Best Urban Public Space, Best Residential Interior Design, Best Commercial Interior Design and Best Office Interior Design.
Casa Lago is made up of two floors, covered by the mantle of the treetops and judiciously placed on the shore of a lake, in the mountains of the Sierra Madre Occidental. While the lower floor is intimate and private, the upper floor houses the recreation areas, all crowned by a butterfly roof that integrates it with its surroundings, revealing a spacious platform that serves as the main terrace.
On the ground floor, there are two king-size bedrooms and two double queen-size bedrooms, all with full bath, closet and covered terrace. The upper floor houses the living room, dining room, kitchen, guest bathroom, pantry, circulation area and terrace with fire pit, for a total of more than 4,590 square feet of construction. It has a radiant floor heating system, as well as finishes in wood, porcelain, marble and black slate.
“Two more architects joined the project: Alfonso Amaya, who supported us in developing the executive project, which is the stage where plans and information are generated to begin the construction, and Martha Dado, who supported us with interior design issues. The engineer in charge of the construction was Óscar Baldenegro,” adds Ruelas.
“Also, part of the excitement and experience was that the project was built as planned and visualized,” notes Zermeño.
Both Ruelas and Zermeño visualize themselves working through their own offices, collaborating with different architects and generating projects that, in addition to providing security and confidence to those who invest in Puerto Vallarta, contribute to the destination through their profession.