“Using precast concrete for design purposes in a smaller scale project had been a very interesting process. It shows that precast concrete elements can deliver a whole design concept.”

Architect Ezequiel Farca

 

Best Single-Family House

Casa Vallarta in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico

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The Baja California coast is dotted with pretty little wooden-framed beach houses that are quite fragile, weathering quickly in the high winds and salty air. Architect Ezequiel Farca wanted to mimic that delicate look when he designed the Casa Vallarta beach home in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, but he wanted his structure to stand-up to the harsh beach climate.

“In the humid climate of Vallarta, one of the biggest challenges was to find a material that would resist environmental conditions and help us add a differentiating design element that would mimic aged gray wood,” Farca says. “Precast concrete gave us the opportunity to find the exact compromise between the design and the maintenance requirements.”

The result: a contemporary three-story home covered with durable architectural precast concrete elements that imitate natural wood and other nature-influenced finishes to achieve a refined look that melds gently into the exotic beachfront surroundings.

The project included more than 850 small precast elements, ranging from 1.5 to 4 ft2 (0.14 to 0.37 m2), which were manufactured and installed over a two-month period in 2012. The pieces were placed in varying combinations on both the external facade and internal walls to create a variety of textures that alternate with other materials. Subtle variations of color were obtained by using diverse natural pigments in the concrete mixture and manually tinting each precast concrete element with acid-based stains in a range of tones.

The small precast concrete elements reflect the look of natural wood while offering a low-maintenance structure that will stand up to the harsh saline environment, Farca says. That not only creates longevity, it lowers the long-term maintenance costs of the home.

And because the pieces were fabricated locally by Pretecsa, construction had minimal impact on the delicate beachfront ecology and allowed the project to be finished ahead of schedule.

“Precast’s flexibility in terms of design was a strong advantage in this specific project,” says Alejandro Fastag, CEO of Pretecsa. “It allowed us to create an open space in the very humid environment of Vallarta and add warmth to the whole project without compromising on the easy maintenance.”

PHOTO CREDIT

Ezequiel Farca

PROJECT CREDITS

Owner and Architect: Ezequiel Farca, Polanco, DF, Mexico 
Precaster and precast specialty engineer: PRETECSA, Atizapán de Zaragoza, Estado de México
Contractor and Engineer of Record: Grupo SYASA, Bosques de las Lomas, DF, Mexico 
Project Size: 10,925 ft2 (1015 m2)