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An iconic home reimagined in Xcalak

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Paul Rudolph's iconic Walker Guest House is inspiration for a design in Q.R.
Pauls Rudolph’s iconic Walker Guest House is inspiration for a design in Q.R.

A Mérida architect has drawn inspiration from an iconic modernist home for a new project off Xcalak Reef, near the southern tip of Quintana Roo.

Carlos de la Barrera Cardeña of Maya Arquitectura Construccion is replicating elements of Florida’s beloved Walker Guest House, built in 1952 on Sanibel Island by Paul Rudolph.

The Florida house remains an example of the post-war modernist architecture of the time, paying respect to its environmental context while maintaining clean lines and rational design.

Large windows and screens on all four sides of the house allow air to flow throughout the dwelling, removing the need for air-conditioning while simultaneously providing generous views. These elements lend the same benefits to the Quintana Roo beach house, which is surrounded by gorgeous scenery. The framing around the deck is as masterful as it is practical.

The ground floor of a beach house in southern Quintana Roo draws inspiration from an iconic mid-century modern bungalow in Florida.
The ground floor of a beach house in southern Quintana Roo draws inspiration from an iconic mid-century modern bungalow in Florida.

The new house benefits from modern materials, such as aluminum louvers that will be more practical and attractive than the original’s wooden panels manipulated by ropes and pulleys. The louvers don’t veer from Rudoph’s vision however — they merely borrow from another of his famous innovations, the Cocoon House (1951) in Sarasota.

Rudolph (1918-1997) was a leading American architect known for his contributions to modernism during the International School and Postmodernism eras.  He was chairman of Yale University’s School of Architecture for six years and famously designed the Yale Art and Architecture Building, one of the earliest examples of Brutalist architecture in the United States.

Many of Rudolph’s houses have been torn down, but the Walker House and the Cocoon House remains — and now a product of its inspiration has appeared on a beach on the Yucatán Peninsula.

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