This is the story of Mérida, Mexico, the city which now occupies the very ground that once formed a part of the Mayan city of T’hó. Mérida is considered to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in this part of the world. In such place of historic and cultural importance, a sapodilla tree germinated and was slowly spreading its roots deep inside the earth’s crust. Sapodilla is quite a common plant in Mexico, widely recognised for its ornamental value and the flavoursome ripe berries. But why this one became so special?
Because, unlike its other companions who perished in widespread urbanisation, this sapodilla not only survived but created such a bond with its human neighbours, that when they decided to build a shelter for themselves in the very land it stands, they made special provisions for this beautiful tree. Indeed, the owners of Casa del Arbol expressly ordered a central position for the tree and, in the process, bring down all artificial barriers preventing human being’s cohabitation with nature. The architect Taller Estilo Arquitectura most delightfully complied to their missives.
But for the presence of sliding glass doors acting as a transparent barrier between the two, the dining room shares its space with the kitchen area. This helps to create an impression of a free flowing space without going the full length and creating a hindrance to privacy. Guests can easily hop into the dining space from the living room and so can do the members of the house from the private areas of the buildings.
A stylish wooden stair connects this part of the house to the upper floors. The building itself is divided into two parts that are joined by a courtyard on the ground floor and a green terrace on the floor above.
The living room with its tasteful mix of modern and historic teak furniture, large shiny myrtle green sofa and side board immediate impresses everyone with its geniality. The ornate tiled motifs on the floor complemented by green tiled border enthralls everyone who steps inside this room. An equally decorative illustration on the wall adds some embellishment to the otherwise modest white washed walls and ceiling.
Every room of the house has to have a direct contact with its natural surroundings. Glass panelled doors covering the entire one side of this kitchen cum dining space inject both light and, when open, perfumed air of the garden in the area inside. Wooden storage units, islands and stools perfectly blend with the green tiled floor. Like other parts of the house, the amount of furniture and embellishments has been kept to bare minimum to exude a more expansive feeling.
The master bedroom occupies the first floor of the building. The lightweight and barely existent furniture give the room a breezy feeling. It opens up to an elegantly decorated deck. This area uses Dzalam covered bamboo flooring to a striking effect. Reclining chairs are supplied to sit and relax under the smiling face of the evening sky.
Even in its contemporary form, Casa del Arbol merges effortlessly with Mérida’s ancient cityscape. The house occupies 149 sq metres and possesses a curved shape. The plot size of 178 sq metres can be found close to the heart of the city. With a joint effort of creating a ceaseless connection with nature, the house with this associated garden also manages to create a bit of oasis in the city’s urban surroundings.
The courtyard creates a cosy lounge with a few plush stools upholstered in grey or neutral tones before merging with the backyard. This can be used as an additional entertainment area or space for partying by the poolside. Next to the famous tree, the circular swimming pool grabs the maximum attention.
If you are planning for your hideout close to nature, then do not forget checking the story of this house out.