The perfect arc

How do luxury and sustainability go together? Architect Ludwig Godefroy answers this question with the brutalist boutique hotel Casa TO on Mexico's Pacific coast.
by Judith Jenner | 9/29/2022

La Punta Zicatela in Puerto Escondido, Mexico, is a surfer's paradise. The Pacific Ocean rushes wildly along the kilometre-long, wide beach. Especially in autumn, professionals from all over the world meet to ride the Mexican Pipe, the spectacular waves. For athletes and other nature-loving travellers, Casa TO wants to be a temporary home, a retreat for self-reflection. Even though the calm atmosphere in the two-storey building is the complete opposite of the roaring waves of the sea, architect Ludwig Godefroy, a former employee of Tatiana Bilbao with an office in Mexico City, has obviously been inspired by them. Concrete walls with circular recesses open to the water divide the pool. The pool forms the centre of the terraced building complex and is much more than a place for refreshment: the moving surface is an aesthetic counterpoint to the solid concrete construction and is reminiscent of Zen monasteries. In fact, the name of the hotel also has a spiritual dimension, as the TO stands for Templo oaxaqueño - meaning Oaxacan temple. Ludwig Godefroy now ventures a new interpretation of these impressive buildings with similar sensory experiences.

For the structure of the house, he used two historic hydraulic buildings as models: the Cisterna Basilica in Istanbul and the Hornsey Wood Reservoir in Finsbury Park, London. It allows for an interplay of privacy and light, of architecture and nature. Tropical climbing plants, fruit trees with bananas and passion fruit partially overgrow the walls, into the 600 square metre interior of the hotel. Six suites on the ground floor have private gardens, while three on the upper floor are equipped with an outdoor bathtub.

"Casa TO's aesthetic is characterised by its simplicity, in which the traditional and the contemporary coexist," explains Ludwig Godefroy. "This is achieved through the harmonious use of simple elements such as steel, concrete, clay and wood." The architect had carpenters from Puebla, Guadalajara and Oaxaca make wooden furniture that harmonises with the doors and window frames, which are also made of wood. Together with local artisans, objects were also created that guests can buy according to a fair trade model. An important concern for the builders was to keep the hotel's carbon footprint as low as possible. Thus, plants and green spaces are fed with water from a treatment plant that enables one hundred percent recycling. A storage system allows energy from solar panels to be used efficiently. The hotel's Zero Plastics policy includes offering individual drinking bottles for guests to fill with filtered water. When purchasing, the hotel also pays attention to recyclable packaging. In this way, sustainability and closeness to nature do not remain just empty words, but are part of the hotel's distinctive CI.


Casa TO
Calle Morelos S/N
Brisas de Zicatela
Santa Maria Colotepec Puerto Escondido

Phone: +52 56 4157-7458


Architecture & Design