Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Casa Ambar is one of the latest residential projects of Centerbrook Architects & Planners, located in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The house at the tip of the Baja Peninsula sits atop a rugged mountain that overlooks the city and the Pacific Ocean.
Casa Ambar’s design was shortlisted for a 2021 International Architecture Award from The European Center for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies and The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design.
Stepped to fit the sloping site, the house sets deep into the earth for natural cooling while providing 280 degrees of arresting views of the ocean, town, and desert.
Cars enter a court through tall gates on the top floor. An arched shade opposite the gates leads to open stairs that curve down a story to the main living spaces behind glass.
The stairs end at an outdoor ‘vestibule’ and grotto with surprising views across the great room to a continuous wall of folding glass and a full-width shaded terrace. This main space, with kitchen, dining, and lounge, arcs to follow the wide view.
The terrace is split with more outdoor stairs, these leading to the lower, bedroom terrace and infinity pool.
Thus, the center of the house cascades through all three stories. With continuous doors open, the great room and terrace become one indoor/outdoor space with panoramic views to the east, south, and west.
The floating canopy above the terrace uses traditional woven bamboo ‘latilla’ for dappled shading as it appears to wave in the steady trade winds.
It is supported by steel pipes at changing angles embedded in the house structure.
The terrace is wide, with glass rails, to frame a view of nothing but the ocean, without a hint of the community downhill.
The bottom stairs split the lowest floor into a master bedroom suite on the west side and the guest bedrooms and service rooms to the east.
The upper terrace overhangs to provide shade while the long narrow infinity pool arcs across the edge of the lower terrace, again blocking views of all but the Pacific Ocean and its spouting whales.
The house is sustainable with indigenous masonry construction of concrete and block, all covered in white stucco.
This reflects the intense heat on the outside while maintaining cooler temperatures within through the thermal storage of the heavy mass and earth behind. The white walls inside also reflect daylight to minimize powered illumination.
The roof sports enough solar collectors (laid flat in this southern climate) to support almost all its electric needs. Plumbing fixtures treat water as a precious commodity.
Project: Casa Ambar
Architects: Centerbrook Architects and Planners LLC
Contractor: AXM Arquitectos
Photographers: Peter Aaron/OTTO