Tepoztlán enjoys a certain mystique for its pre-Hispanic past and its reputed creative and curative energies. Ensconced amid mountains and beneath a vast sky, the infinitely green valley also has a seasonal river flowing through it.

Architects: Soler Orozco Arquitectos + Javier Sánchez
Location: Tepoztlán, Morelos, MX
Year: 2021
Design team: Juan Soler, Alan Orozco, Javier Sánchez, Fernanda Leon, Ingrid Casas, Elena Annunziata
Structural engineering: Clinker Proyectos / Sergio Barrios
MEP Engineering: Amado Guevara, Oscar Zárate
Landscape design: Paar Taller
Photo: ©Jaime Navarro, Juan Soler, Alan Orozco

Tepoztlán Spa By SOA Soler Orozco Arquitectos - Sheet2
©Jaime Navarro, Juan Soler, Alan Orozco

The profuse vegetation covers the hills, concealing the Cerro del Tepozteco despite its imposing proximity. At ground level the warmth and humidity can be felt even in the shade of the trees. Panoramic views spread out in every direction. And above the tree canopies, in the wide-open sky, the approaching clouds reveal the location of rain showers. Dusk briefly bathes the west-facing “sacred mountain” in a warm orange glow as a prelude to nightfall when stars begin dotting the sky and the nocturnal fauna starts to sound.

The client for this project—an avid athlete—wanted a house embedded within this setting as a space dedicated to improving people’s physical and emotional wellbeing.

Tepoztlán Spa By SOA Soler Orozco Arquitectos - Sheet5
©Jaime Navarro, Juan Soler, Alan Orozco

As its guiding design principle, the spa needed to blend into the site without impinging on the landscape, keeping the architecture out of view and recognizing how the context changes between the dry and rainy seasons.

The architectural form is based around a truncated cone of volcanic stone covered by a green roof-dish, a borderless shape that cannot be grasped as a whole. Symbolically the spa is a procession that begins by entering the mountain through a tunnel and circulating through the spaces to reach the main body, and emerging on the other side, with steps leading up to offer views of the awe-inspiring natural surroundings from another perspective.

Tepoztlán Spa By SOA Soler Orozco Arquitectos - Sheet7
©Jaime Navarro, Juan Soler, Alan Orozco

The circular floor plan has radial spaces around a central area left almost as a void, lit from above by a round skylight that lets sun and water filter through. This skylight occupies the center of the 20-meter-diameter green roof-dish that acts as a kind of impluvium to collect the rainwater that then filters down into the underground cisterns. The gym, massage room, lockers, showers and bathrooms, sauna and frigidarium are ranged around the central space and complete the active program. Upon climbing the stairs the space becomes compressed and then opens up completely, and a gentle breeze can be felt upon emerging outdoors. The green dish-roof merges into the surrounding tree canopies. The upper program is perfect for contemplation, a place where guests can enjoy dawn, dusk, and the night around an open fire or in a hot tub.


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