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The Cave: Site-Sensitive Design Bridges Nature and Modern Architecture

Building a modern home inside a protected eco-zone is a task that requires both sensitivity towards the natural bio-network that already exists and ingenious architectural solutions that will create a structure that will seem like a natural extension of the landscape. These were a few among many other challenges that Greenfield faced while designing the exclusive and eco-friendly home in Pilares that is dubbed ‘The Cave’. Nestled inside the exotic Maderas del Carmen, the scenic landscape that surrounds the unique structure is home to rare and endangered species. Preserving this delicate natural environment while creating a cozy interior, the creative Cave was crafted using materials such as river rocks, pine wood, rammed earth and concrete!

The Cave in Pilares inside the amazing natural sanctuary of Maderas del Carmen

Sustainability is the key factor that drives every little aspect of the The Cave, with 90 percent of all materials used in the construction of the house being derived from ranches and sandbanks around it. Old metal sheets and hardwood were sourced from an abandoned railway track nearby, while earth and stone from the site were cleverly used to create a perfectly insulated yet airy living space. The use of skylights and natural openings usher in plenty of light, even as the simple, earthen color scheme creates an inviting ambiance. The L-shaped edifice houses a large living area at its heart, with the dining room and meeting room on one side and the dorm room and kitchen on the other.

A panoramic terrace allows the residents to take in 360-degree views of the wild outdoors, and the sunken design of the home itself lets it seamlessly blend with the scenery. Complete with a wine cellar and outdoor lounge, this is truly a masterpiece that is all about reconnecting with nature without being intrusive and leaving an ungainly, damaging footprint. [Photography: Documentación Arquitectónica – Adrián Llaguno]

Antler and horn decorations recovered from naturally deceased animals in the area

Orientattion of the building makes most of the natural northen light

Rammed earth, river racks and natural materials found from ranches and sandbanks shape the unique residence

River rocks, pine wood, rammed earth and concrete shape the fabulous Pilares retreat

Sustainable and planet-friendly design of the Cave responds to the needs of the landscape

Lovely earthen walls offer natural insulation inside the house

Clever use of skylights and natural gaps brings a flood of light indoors

Kenji López Rivera, the firm’s leader, considers that his highest satisfactions were the new challenges and risks that arose during the development of the project. For instance, at the beginning there was another architectural project, with a different location and limited expectations for a visit center…suddenly, everything changed when Greenfield’s proposal conceptualized a whole new idea, one with a new location and a much larger architectural ambition.

Exterior of the eco-friendly home gains style, hue and texture from the landscape around it

Structure of the Cave melts into the landscape of Pilares

Natural design of the home is a throwback to simpler times

Simplistic architectural elements define the lovely Cave

Site plan of the exclusive natural retreat in Pilares

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