Hotels in Mexico: Utilizing Natural Materials and Waste in Contemporary Construction

In the quest to promote a more sustainable construction where the use of natural materials contributes to the transmission of local traditions and cultures, an increasing number of architecture projects are exploring different resources and techniques to address environmental, economic, or social concerns. Understanding the benefits and qualities of materials such as color or texture influences the final experience of those who inhabit, walkthrough, or visit spaces. Therefore, understanding their technical, constructive, aesthetic, and functional properties should be part of the design process from the beginning.

How is it possible to reduce construction waste and build more with less? In what way does the use of natural materials allow for optimizing environmental performance and honoring local traditions at the same time? While natural materials may exhibit greater vulnerability to the environment, sometimes compromising their structural and aesthetic quality, it is important to understand that there are various possible alternatives to protect them from factors such as humidity, excessive solar radiation, and pests, among others.

Within Mexican territory and in the context of hotel architecture, several architecture professionals propose integrating and connecting with the surroundings through traditional construction techniques adapted to contemporary needs. For example, through gardens, bodies of water, aromas, and sounds, Hotel Muaré by Taller de Arquitectura Viva seeks to become part of the natural context of the Mayan jungle by connecting with artisanal regional techniques such as chukum, henequen, carpentry, and natural weaving.


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On the other hand, a convergence of nature and local culture is proposed in the Galopina Wild House project in Yucatán, which presents a concept of domestic hospitality integrated into its surroundings by embracing a philosophy of sustainable living and employing local techniques and materials such as polished concrete floors, lime paint, polished stucco, and stone masonry, among others. Generally, natural materials tend to be more thermally comfortable and also serve as acoustic insulators, as is the case with wood, among others.

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Furthermore, some contemporary designs showcase the reconfiguration of behaviors and innovative technologies for enhanced comfort indoors, incorporating efficient climate control strategies, energy consumption savings, or construction waste reduction. An example of this is El Perdido Hotel, which considered the temperatures, precipitation, humidity, winds, and solar incidence in the location to develop passive cooling strategies during summer and passive heating strategies during winter.

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Now, natural materials can also be incorporated into interior design. In fact, Casona Los Cedros integrates itself into the town of Espita with local craftsmanship at the heart of the project. For example, residents of the town create lamps from rattan and embroidered textiles, while furniture is crafted by local carpenters. Another example is Sforza House in Oaxaca, where interior spaces are furnished with pieces from regions known for their artisan crafts, such as rugs from Teotitlán del Valle, textiles from the Oaxaca Valley, hammocks, chairs, and curtains from Yucatán, and palm lamps from Veracruz, combined with elements from the Oaxacan mountains. These materials can be applied not only in large-scale structures like the Bamboo Temple Hotel by Arquitectura Mixta but also in furniture and/or smaller decorative pieces, lighting, outdoor furnishings, and more.

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Below, discover a selection of 10 hotels in Mexico that use natural materials in their construction, aiming to introduce their guests to the local traditions of the region they are visiting.

Hotel Muaré / Taller de Arquitectura Viva

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“The architectural style evokes Central American cultures and connects them with the present using contemporary solutions mixed with local materials of low ecological impact such as stone and wood.”

Hotel Eterna / Arista Cero

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“The use of materials from the region is proposed, highlighting the chukum-type plaster, Mayan stone, and wood.”

Galopina Wild House / TACO taller de arquitectura contextual

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“The materials and finishes are rather simple and common sense. They were chosen for their ability to reinforce the sense of belonging to the place and for their capacity of aging with dignity.”

Hotel Terrestre / Taller de Arquitectura X / Alberto Kalach

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“One of the main design axes was sustainability and the use of locally sourced materials that would reduce the environmental footprint of the project. In addition, climate control methods achieved through innovative construction techniques replace the dependence on air conditioning.”

Casona Los Cedros Hotel / Laura Lecué – Collectif como

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“For the renovation of the old part, we have used traditional materials and techniques. Stone, natural fiber, pixoy, chukum, certified wood, and lime make up the palette of materials. Also used in the new construction, these materials create an aesthetic dialogue between the old and the contemporary.”

Silence House / Alejandro D’Acosta

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“Casa Silencio uses local materials, exposing its evident appearance. It arises from the earth and integrates with the environment. It is the architecture behind closed doors, nothing came out of the construction in the form of garbage, and each material of the work was reused with some other function.”

El Perdido Hotel / estudio ALA

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“The vernacular materiality allows the visitor to connect with the local way of life in Pescadero, where the endemic vegetation, earthen walls, wooden structure, and palm roofs epitomized Baja California Sur’s heritage.”

Hotel Tepoztlán / Taller Carlos Marín + Pasquinel Studio

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“The fusion between architecture and nature was a premise from the conception of the project, the existing volcanic stone was used to create walls and floors, construction wood (falsework, rollers, and bars) was recycled to create railings, furniture, doors, and floors.”

Hotel Bardo / Taller de Arquitectura Viva

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“The architectural style represents contemporary Mexican constructions mixed with local materials of low ecological impact and blended with the surroundings, seeking to be part of the natural context of the Mayan jungle, aging alongside it.”

K’in Boutique Development in Tulum / Holland Harvey Architects

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“The ground floor is defined by a singular stacked stone wall that frames and supports the upper levels. Formed of abundant local limestone, this striking architectural feature utilizes construction waste material from other developments in the area.”

* The texts of each project are the descriptions sent by the authors themselves.

This article is part of the ArchDaily Topics: Doing More With Less. Every month we explore a topic in-depth through articles, interviews, news, and architecture projects. We invite you to learn more about our ArchDaily Topics. And, as always, at ArchDaily we welcome the contributions of our readers; if you want to submit an article or project, contact us.

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