Elástica Studio
Sonsonate, El Salvador

The Salvadoran Bienal 2022 witnessed the emergence of an architectural gem, crowned as the winner in the architectural design category. This accolade was bestowed upon a house that gracefully merges modern living with the rustic charm of El Salvador’s western coastline. Situated on a quaint white sand beach, this property is a testament to architectural ingenuity and sensitivity towards the natural environment.

The land on which this house sits is a canvas painted with nature’s finest strokes, adorned with tamarinds, fire trees, and mayflowers. The design of the house is a harmonious blend with this tropical exuberance, allowing nature to seep into every nook and cranny. The architecture does not impose itself upon the landscape; rather, it serves as a conduit, channeling the natural beauty of the surroundings into a living experience that is both intimate and open. The house is not just a structure but an entity that lives and breathes with its surroundings, constantly in communion with the exterior.

Credit: Mayo House / Elástica Studio | ArchDaily

The materiality of the house was chosen with great care and foresight. The intention was to use materials that would age gracefully and narrate the passage of time through their evolving appearance. This choice reflects a deep respect for the natural aging process and a desire to integrate the house into the lifecycle of its environment.

Credit: Mayo House / Elástica Studio | ArchDaily

In its essence, the house is a product of its locale. The bricks used in the bathrooms and kitchen speak of the earth from which they were molded. Local craftsmen were employed to work on these elements, infusing each brick with the essence of Salvadoran craftsmanship. The wicker and ceramic lamps are not mere functional items; they are pieces of art, handcrafted with the skill and passion of artisans who have honed their craft over generations. These elements are not just part of the house; they are part of the cultural and artistic heritage of El Salvador.

Credit: Mayo House / Elástica Studio | ArchDaily

The walls of the house, made of dry bamboo, tell a story of sustainability and environmental responsibility. Sourced from a nearby renewable plantation, they symbolize a commitment to eco-friendly building practices. This choice of material is a nod to the ecological ethos that underpins the entire design philosophy of the house. It stands as a model for sustainable living, demonstrating that luxury and environmental consciousness can coexist.

Credit: Mayo House / Elástica Studio | ArchDaily

This beach house is not just a structure; it is a living, breathing space that evolves and grows with its surroundings. It is a place where architecture and nature dance in perfect harmony, creating a living experience that is both luxurious and grounded. The Salvadoran Bienal 2022 award is a recognition of this unique blend of natural beauty, cultural authenticity, and sustainable design principles. This house is more than just a winner in an architectural category; it is a beacon of hope and inspiration, showing the way for future architectural endeavors that seek to embrace and celebrate the natural world.

As the house gracefully ages, telling its story through the changing textures and colors of its materials, it will stand as a living narrative of the beauty of aging gracefully with nature. Each crack in the brick, each patina on the bamboo, will be a chapter in its ongoing story, a testament to the enduring beauty of nature and the timeless elegance of thoughtful architecture.

In essence, this Salvadoran beach house is more than just a physical structure; it’s a philosophy, a way of life that embodies harmony, sustainability, culture, and beauty. It is a shining example for future architectural endeavors, a reminder that our buildings should not dominate but rather enhance the natural beauty of their surroundings. It stands not just as a house, but as a home in the truest sense – a sanctuary that nurtures, inspires, and respects, much like the nature it so beautifully embraces.

Credit: Mayo House / Elástica Studio | ArchDaily
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