“The southern tip of Baja California Sur—in Mexico’s San Jose del Cabo region—offers spectacular panoramas. Its beauty, however, comes with a demanding climate. ‘It’s a landscape of extremes: hot and cold; wet and dry; calm and windy,’ explains Greg Warner, principal at Walker Warner Architects, who experimented with the design of this holiday retreat for a San Francisco-based couple with teenagers.
‘When I first visited, the site had already been prepared for development, including the introduction of a sea wall to protect the property from storm surges,’ continues Warner. ‘The challenge became figuring out how to position the house in relation to the sea wall as well as other site constraints, and reconnect it to nature.’
Counterintuitively, instead of opting for the easy solution of focusing the house exclusively on the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez, the architects took the opposite 76 approach. ‘We tapped into ideas we found in nearby historic San Jose del Cabo, where courtyard buildings possess a rich mix of spatial experiences,’ says Warner. ‘The courtyard concept gave us the opportunity to control all of the variables—access to the ocean, views, neighbours, the road, sun, wind, and so on.’
At the entrance to the property, behind a handsome bronze and teak gate, lies a tinkling water feature with floating stone pavers. They lead the way to the main courtyard and the majestic courtyard beyond. It’s a wow moment with real emotional resonance.”