Zacatitos – A New Way Of Living In The Desert


Zacatitos, a new way of living in the desert: This project located in Baja California Sur reflects a vision based on sustainable design. Based in Vancouver, Canada, the interdisciplinary design firm Leckie Studio Architecture + Design (formerly Leckie Studio Fields) was founded by the architect Michael Leckie, who conceived residential projects and commercial -of several scales- focused on sustainable techniques.
Located in Baja California Sur, this 353 square meter project is part of a series of housing prototypes located in the desert.
The objective is to investigate and experiment how to design houses far from the electricity grid and built in regions where the climate is extreme. The team of architects chose the remote Mexican community of Los Zacatitos to advance in their reflection. Built on a single level, in a sloping terrain, the linear structure is a response to the orientation of the sun and the local breeze. The house has reinforced concrete vertical insulating panels and its white color further accentuates the sensation of intense light. The double panels were placed to accommodate side views, maximize ventilation and protect from the sun. By taking into account the context and natural elements, this experimentation brings together architecture and sustainability in a single discipline.

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This project is an exploration of the modernist pavilion in an extreme desert climate. The site is a west-facing rocky knoll with distant views of a volcanic mountain ridge to the West and the Sea of Cortez to the South. The organization of the architectural program is used to create a passive solar response to the constraints of a challenging site and modest construction budget. The design strategy works with a small building footprint on the steeply sloping site – organizing the public living areas on a series of cascading platforms, shaded and sheltered by a single monolithic rectangular volume that houses the bedrooms above.


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