The winners of the 13th Yucatán Bienal of Architecture were announced on July 20. And this year, newcomers stole the spotlight.
Estudio Santa Rita, a young architectural firm made up of Mauricio Antonio Pérez León, Marcos Torres Cocom, and Maricruz Alcalá López, won a silver medal for their remodeling project at Casa Mango, one of the company’s first-ever renovation projects.
Located in Mérida’s Centro, Casa Mango is a modern, minimalist, and artsy home in the heart of the city, and a Yucatecan getaway for its many guests.
“The home belongs to an artist couple from Mexico City,” says Mauricio Pérez. “We wanted them to be in love with the project, but they weren’t planning on living in the house, it was developed as a rental. So we had to design and develop with the end-user in mind, one that is constantly changing, but that is always looking to enjoy the space and its surroundings.”
The old property was a Yucatecan home from the 1950s. Because of its deteriorated state, the studio worked with freedom, maintaining only the axes of the original project — entrance, exit, and courtyards.
One of the home’s most exciting characteristics was the particular alignment of the house.
“Unlike most homes in the Centro, this house was not aligned to the street,” says Mauricio, “which meant we got to play with transitions, starting as soon as you step into the property.”
Architect Maricruz Alcalá shared the intention behind the journey they designed.
“Since the house is located on a long lot, there’s a need for constant movement from place to place. We didn’t want it to be a boring course, so we created a kind of compression and openness when changing rooms. We played with their scales and dimensions, always opening views to the outside.”
The residence welcomes its guests with a lobby, which includes a foyer and bedrooms.
Once you walk through the welcome area, you reach a second transition lobby, holding an inner garden. The architects think of this green space as the heart of the residence.
After this lobby, in the third block of the home, guests find the living room, dining room and kitchen, with unobstructed views to the garden.
Once outside, standing on the terrace, we find the main natural element of the home — a mango tree, from which the project gets its name.
The walls are finished with smooth concrete to highlight the owner’s art pieces.
Subtle, yet elegant, touches of color are present in marble detailing, but the studio wanted a larger pop of color to make the rooms stand out. After some experimentation, they decided on yellow.
“The ironwork was a bold move that came up as a proposal, and we were so excited when the clients approved,” says Mauricio. “We wanted to contrast the neutral material present throughout the project and add something you would remember after a short stay. And the answer was yellow.”
On the second level, you are welcomed into the main bedroom. A wide lobby opens to the room, which is enclosed by floor-length windows.
The journey through the property continues on the other side of the glass, into the large exterior terrace. The courtyard and garden are visible from this viewpoint and continue highlighting the exterior spaces of the home.
Casa Mango has been well-received since it hit the rental market, and it’s almost always completely booked. The architects proudly share that recognition has widely grown in the design community, too.
“When you’re new to the game, you enter competitions hoping for the best but not actually believing you’ll win,” laughs Mauricio. “We were surprised with the award, and really honored to see our work is paying off. We’ve been around since 2015 and are proud to see what we’ve built so far. It makes us look forward to what’s next. For now, the future holds many more memorable homes with amazing outdoor spaces.”
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