San Juan Houses / Aflo Arquitectos, Serrano Monjaraz Architects

© Marcos Betanzos

Architects: Aflo Arquitectos / Mexico MArch – Andres Flores Architect, Associate with Serrano Monjaraz Architects / Mexico. Juan Pablo Serrano Architect
Location: Cuernavaca Morelos, Mexico
Client: AzurCity S.A. de C.V.
Structural Consultant: IESSA
Main Contractor: CONVEPO SA de CV
Chief Contractor: Hugo de Vega
Project year: 2009
Photographs: Marcos Betanzos

© Marcos Betanzos

The Project lies in a very dry area in the city of Cuernavaca, Morelos in Mexico. The city was nicknamed the “City of Eternal Spring” by Alexander von Humboldt in the 19th century. One our away from México City, the most important summer states for the Aztecs and in present times as well for the inhabitant of Mexico City’s. The name “Cuernavaca” is derived from the Nahuatl phrase Cuauhnahuac, and means “surrounded by or close to trees.” The name was eventually Hispanicized to Cuernavaca because the Spanish could not pronounce the Nahuatl name.


12 apartments and 20 house`s units surrounded by local trees and vegetation, which the most valuable asset of the whole project. The site has a slope towards the back which respond to a local Glen, which is part of the city’s water network coming from the volcano’s, and nearest mountains; Cuernavaca´s weather has a natural sprinklers systems coming from the glen’s network.

© Marcos Betanzos

The houses are arrange symmetrical as the main path in the center becomes the entrance to all of them, like a big garden or a small “in between park” for the development. The apartment units (85 and 90 sqm) are located in 2 floors both with a full view to the private garden of the complex and the Glen trees, which are quite tall. Jacarandas and tabachine´s are some of the species of the trees. Moreover the vegetation is main guideline of the project: views, footprint of the houses, gym and pool are placed for the preservation of the original location of the trees.

© Marcos Betanzos

The houses are two stories. Ground floor is a public services (kitchen, hall, living, garden, toilet, dinning and laundry) and the Upper floor is a private (3 bedrooms, and 2 full bathrooms with walking closets).

The houses are passive technology designed. The shape is based on the access (and staircases location), creating a porch marked by the “Big box” over it with a double height for the Master Bedroom, that also brings heaviness to the main car accesses, (the park in between) this sensation of light heaviness is the great combination to the slim height of the trees and the boxes, bring to our mind the “house in the tree”.

first floor plan

The pool is solar heated. The design becomes a brake pergola lines that smooths the sunlight and let the pool be a cool – warm place that let you stay for hours. The gym a sutil white box at the end of the site that let you workout without interruptions.

Cite: "San Juan Houses / Aflo Arquitectos, Serrano Monjaraz Architects" 08 Apr 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 May 2015. <>