Architecture studio Espacio 18 is known for their dynamic Mexican spaces that are transformative and intersectional, highlighting both sustainability and natural integration through innovative uses of locally-sourced materials. One only needs to look at the firm’s past projects like the minimalist dwelling Casa del Sapo and the Moza’be restaurant (both in the studio’s fave location Oaxaca) for proof.

Now, the forward-thinking Espacio 18 has turned their exceptional interior design eye toward yet another Oaxaca project. This time, it’s a group of residences in Colonia Reforma, just five short minutes from the city’s downtown area. Dubbed “Pensamientos Residencial” (Residential Thoughts), these four homes add to the studio’s impressive oeuvre with their distinctive focus on unifying architectural aspects. Their alluring apertures and connective patios amplify the structures’ openness and community-minded approach while also showcasing Espacio’s love of natural light and warm neutral tones.

The project addresses a local need for residential development. Rising land and property costs and increasing gentrification have led to more locals seeking housing on the city’s outskirts. Pensamientos Residencial was born as a result of this, commissioned by a real estate agency and catalyzed by the architects’ knowledge of the area and desire to repopulate the city’s suburbs.

The residences are divided into four distinct three-level houses, each with a land area of 120 square meters and laid out in the same way: an enclosed ground level/social area, a first floor including private areas, secondary rooms, and study/TV area, and a second floor that encompasses the main room and other services. While these layouts may seem pretty standard, the spaces are elevated through patios on each level, each with their own high-rise style walls that ensure privacy despite their proximity to other residences. The spaces are designed with flexibility and usability in mind — the template exists as a palette for residents to add their own stamp of originality through personalized interior touches.

The exterior, like many of Espacio’s projects, is deceptively spartan, comprised of clean lines and simple utilitarian touches dominated by neutral tones. Built with finishes made from locally-sourced wood from nearby spots like Huanacaxtle and reinforced with both steel and volcanic stones, the homes are built to last. And if the demand for housing on the outskirts of Oaxaca continues to increase, these structures will no doubt be the first of many in the area.