Landmarks: Tepotzlan, Mexico

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The Independent Culture
Working as an architectural photographer I am in the privileged position of seeing many old and new buildings around the world. Recently I photographed the new Frank Gehry building in Basle and Arquitectonica's new Banque de Luxembourg. But this house in Tepotzlan, Mexico is very different. It's a little gem. A summerhouse made from local materials, as a dwelling for themselves, by local architect Sergio Puente and the German- born Ada Dewes. It's completely unlike anything else I've ever come across. It relates to its surroundings so much so that when we were photographing it we had to cut away some of the foliage with a machete.

Basically it's an adobe wall built on to the side of a hill with two horizontals hanging from it and between these a cage of flyscreens. Its like living in an aviary. It uses a green canopy of foliage to filter light and shade and allows the humid atmosphere to create its own patina of damp and corrosion. It utilizes what the location has to offer. Even the water's from an underground spring.

With its smells of wet foliage and damp clay, the humid atmosphere and the sound of birds and running water, this house initially bombards the senses. But gradually the natural noises fade into a soothing sound and, as you ascend the stairway on to the platform over the sleeping quarters, you experience a sensation of being on top of the world.

Richard Bryant is an architectural photographer and with his wife Lynn runs architectural picture library Arcaid. His book, with Jonathan Glancey, 'New Moderns' was recently published in paperback by Mitchell Beazley

(Photograph omitted)

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