Max Cetto’s iconic project was a true testament to his design aesthetic and imagination. Designed upon land devastated hundreds of years earlier by a volcanic eruption, his masterpiece led to the rebirth of the area of Jardines del Pedregal.
What is now a rather desired, upper-class modernist residential colonia of southern Mexico City was for hundreds of years nothing but empty land, built up of volcanic lava and home to interesting foliage. Architect Max Cetto took this opportunity, however, as a blank canvas on which to create his own home.
Cetto visited the site on numerous occasions at different times of day in order to understand the plot and build a feeling of the rhythm of the land before beginning the design process. The natural environment not only informed the style and design of the home itself, but fed into the garden, which was developed by himself and his wife to follow the ebb and flow created by the lava that had settled there.
The home sits near the Ajusco mounting range to the west. Cetto integrated lava stone as one of the core structural elements, allowing the landscape to inform the design of the interior space. Using wood and other stone throughout the property as well as tiles and mosaics, which could be seen to reference the fragility of the built structure within its surroundings as well as the natural materials, the exterior was brought inside.
The terrain is populated by various vegetation such as ferns, orchids, cacti, succulents and in particular, pirules trees, originally Peruvian but a core part of the local vegetation. Alongside the existing plants and the family home, the land is home to rattlesnakes, scorpions and tarantulas, truly demonstrating the small part we play within a living world.