Casa Xixim, Gold Award, Green
Site: Tulum, Mexico
Entrant/Architect: Specht Architects (formerly Specht Harpman)
Builder/Developer: Dave and Jenny Blizard
Interior Designer: Matthew Finlason Design
Photographer: Taggart Sorenson
Size: 4,800 sf
Hard cost, excluding land: $180/sf
Completion: January 2016
The vistas are impressive at this site on the Yucatan Peninsula, but the homeowners faced a difficult challenge: No water or septic service and an unreliable electric power system serving the area meant that the home had to be able to function self sustainably. The beachfront villa processes its own waste with a two-stage system. First, waste enters primary digester tanks for biological processing. Then an artificial wetland filters the waste, producing water clean enough for irrigation. The clean water is channeled into a waterfall that feeds the irrigation system. “It’s a system that could be adopted more in the U.S. in certain locations,” says Scott Specht, founding principal of Specht Architects.
An underground cistern collects rainwater runoff from roof and terrace surfaces. The water is pumped to rooftop tanks at peak solar electric production. The tanks’ elevation offers adequate pressure for all indoor uses. The rooftop solar array provides most of the home’s electricity, and louvered windows take advantage of ocean breezes. Green roof terraces reduce heat absorption and moderate stormwater flow.
Click on slideshow below for more photos