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Rootstudio Brings Together The Rigor Of Recycling And Preservation In Casa Hidalgo, A Work Of Modern Architecture In The Heart Of Oaxaca

Project name:
Casa Hidalgo
Architecture firm:
Oaxaca City, Mexico
Lizet Ortiz
Principal architect:
Joao Boto Caeiro
Design team:
Interior design:
Built area:
95 m²
Site area:
128 m²
Design year:
Completion year:
Civil engineer:
Nicolas Coello
Structural engineer:
Nicolas Coello
Environmental & MEP:
Tools used:
Hand Made Drawings
Adobe, Ceramic Tiles, Lime, Wood, Stone (Cantera Verde From Oaxaca), Steel, Bricks, Glass
Rodolfo Garcia
Residential › House

The multidisciplinary studio, under the leadership of João Boto Cæiro, expresses the values that guide its vision of contemporary architecture in this reduced space.

Casa Hidalgo is a modern single volume building built on a 123 m² lot in the Historic Center of Oaxaca, Mexico, by the multidisciplinary architecture practice RootStudio. Starting with the remains of an 16th- century building that occupied the site, the studio led by João Boto Cæiro went about recycling and restoring what was left to develop a contemporary home with open floor plans and uncluttered spaces, consisting of two floors and a rooftop terrace with a large avocado tree that provides natural shade, fusing traditional Mexican roots with contemporary design trends.

Inside, a number of walls have been restored and preserved in their original state. These vestiges provide a striking contrast with the modern surroundings, reinforcing the historic character of the site through an interplay of different textures, materials and neutral tones. The public area is located on the first floor, laid out in an open and flexible floor plan comprising the living room, kitchen, dining room and washrooms, all of which have porcelain tile floors. Upstairs, the private area has two bedrooms, washrooms and a wooden floor that provides warmth and thermal and acoustic insulation.

As the site was explored, green quarry stone from the foundations of a previous building was found, which was reused in the construction of the patio and swimming pool, endowing this area with exquisite emerald hues. For the design of the garden, plants installed in clay pots on a hard patio covered in the same stone were used, which favors the maintenance and organization of the space, as a house planned for temporary rentals.

Being a completely new construction, Casa Hidalgo is characterized by the fusion between ancient and modern, something that is also expressed in its sober spaces, where black and white dominate, with color accents. The design of the furniture and decorative elements, such as the lamps, kitchen and services, was part of the studio brief and was carried out in collaboration with local master craftspeople, who took advantage of their experience in ceramics and cabinetmaking. For the furniture, a number of retro pieces combine with walls limewashed with natural pigments, providing warmth while ensuring a sustainable design.

For this project, RootStudio sought to merge two seemingly opposing ideas: the traditional and the avant-garde, memories and a moment, old and new. In a space of limited dimensions, Casa Hidalgo is a meeting place between the architectural present and past of Oaxaca, uniting traces of vernacular constructions with the modern, ecological vision realized by RootStudio.


Based in Oaxaca City and directed by João Boto Cæiro, RootStudio was founded in 2010 as a multidisciplinary studio that encompasses architecture, design, illustration, painting, and sculpture.

Over more than a decade of work, RootStudio has forged a unique signature that distinguishes it for its striking projects in Mexico and other latitudes. Its portfolio showcases its versatility when it comes to the most varied types of projects, such as residential buildings, productive and educational centers, sites for leisure and hospitality, whose common denominator lies in their harmonious integration with the landscape and a total commitment to social responsibility.

Entering a work by RootStudio means finding oneself in a dynamic, emotional atmosphere, where the pared-back simplicity is the result of a deep reflection on the mission of contemporary architecture.

By Liliana Alvarez

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