Intentions: Design a community building as the focal point of a retreat and wellness center on the Pacific Coast of Baja, Mexico. The program required in and outdoor dining facilities for up to 35 participants, commercial kitchen, meditation room, sauna, two treatment rooms, exercise room, TV room, reception, bathrooms and changing rooms for the adjacent pool, laundry facility, two-car garage and ample storage.
Functional Results: We divided the building into private, semi-private, and public areas, grouping the quiet meditation and treatment rooms away from the pool, stacking the garage and storage on the south side with the commercial kitchen above, and opening the TV room, sauna, exercise room, and bathrooms onto the pool. The second story dining room with fire place, pocketing doors, and balconies on three sides can open up during good weather and provides commanding views of the ocean to the west and the mountains to the north and east. Capping it all off, a roof top deck is surrounded by a low, wide planter that provides a buffer of safety from the edge without compromising the view from the cozy arrangement of luxurious outdoor couches.
Aesthetic Results: We used an age old proportioning system known as the golden mean to organize the building in both plan and elevation. From the ratio of the ceiling heights between the first and second floors to the scupper (drains) emerging from from the balconies, from the size of the windows and the points of inflection on the balcony railing, from the overall plan to the smallest of details, all are designed to create a felt sense of harmony and interdependence. We also balanced the rectilinear weightiness of the stucco covered concrete with the rough cut post and beams of the shade structure and the sensuous curves of the dark, custom designed balcony railings.