Rancho 6 Valle de Bravo, Mexico

Inside in the woods, outside in the house

Heat and frost, high humidity, heavy tropical rain and a picturesque landscape: the architects of this property in Mexico had to take a wide range of conditions into account. However, the use of the largescale VISS pivot door allowed them to implement their design concept without compromising.

It could hardly be more idyllic: this majestic property, which goes by the name of Rancho 6, is set in a clearing with a green meadow in the heart of a mountainous pine forest. The complex is nestled among the surrounding greenery, incorporating the trees into the architecture. The property consists of several buildings with gabled roofs and a low-rise building with a flat roof.
The latter forms the heart of the complex, and includes internal spaces in the form of four atria containing numerous trees. It is, however, completely shielded from the outside. By contrast, the adjoining buildings with gabled roofs face outwards with huge floor-to-ceiling pivot doors opening up to the green surroundings and the forest.

Tradition and modernity

The property is located 90-minutes‘ drive to the west of Mexico City in the wooded area of Valle de Bravo. The city has around 26,000 inhabitants and is situated by the reservoir of the same name in largely mountainous terrain at around 1,850 metres above sea level. The architecture of Pablo Sepulveda Arquitectos subtly combines a traditional Mexican approach with a regional architectural style, natural building materials and earthy colours. This combination has been interpreted and implemented with a contemporary feel: Rancho 6 consists of cubic, rather compact buildings and archetypal gabled houses with extra-high interior spaces. Complete with modern, technically sophisticated solutions, refined interior design, stylish furnishings and art from all over the world, Rancho 6 is an urban oasis in the heart of this mountainous and rural province. The spaciousness of the buildings and their rooms gives them a prestigious, almost glamorous feel. In addition to the users, the architects also paid particular attention to the topography and, above all, the prevailing climate in the design.
The large façade fronts and the connection with the surrounding area are the property’s outstanding features.

Climate a key factor

The region is located in the tropics, more precisely in the cold tropics, where, due to the high altitude in the mountains, it can be quite warm during the day at 20 to 25C, but frosty at night. During the summer between April and June, temperatures can reach as high as 30C around midday. The rainy season follows from June to September, usually with heavy showers in the afternoons and evenings. As a result, it becomes very muggy. October to May is dry season. The climatic range with all its variations – heavy rainfall, intense heat during the day, cold at night, high humidity and strong winds – was taken into account by the architects when designing the property. This can be seen, for example, in the extra-high ceilings, the steep gabled roofs and the VISS pivot doors on the impressive glass fronts, which are up to five metres in height and therefore provide generous ventilation. In order to protect the indoor climate from becoming too hot due to the large glass surfaces in the summer months, Solarban 60 sun protection glass with a 19-mm air cavity and laminated glass was used. This blocks 99% of UV rays.

Huge window – huge opening

The large window fronts of the cubic buildings and floor-to- ceiling pivot doors on the fronts of the buildings with gabled roofs are prominent features of the Rancho 6 complex. When closed, the pivot doors have the appearance of a glass wall surrounded by streamlined profiles. The dimensions and the resulting weight of these pivot doors presented the metalworkers with major challenges: Each panel is five metres tall and 2.5 metres wide, which means each panel weighs around one tonne. The VISS façade system was used to ensure smooth and reliable operation for the customer in the coming years.
m high
m width
kg per wing

For the most exacting design requirements

The VISS steel profile system offers a unique system solution for large façade openings that can be visually integrated into the building envelope without compromising the aesthetics. The thermally separated VISS profiles used in Rancho 6 had to be reinforced for safety reasons in order to withstand extreme wind loads or break-ins. To meet this requirement, Jansen offers a sophisticated complete solution for high-spec façade designs, by combining new additions to its range of profiles, such as the high-performance structural VISS steel profiles and the heavy-duty T-cleats.

This combination of building aesthetics, structural safety and efficent workmanship is evident throughout the Rancho 6 project. The grand scale of this property allows the VISS façade profile system to show its strengths as a door-to-ceiling, modular pivot door. VISS combines the highest design standards, simple elegance, technical skill and economic efficiency, and turns the opening of a fivemetre-high pivot door into a real spectacle. The slender design of the window and pivot doors underlines the contours of the clear-cut architecture. The profiles become a frame for the magnificent view, while the pine forest becomes a framed painting. The indoor and outdoor environment meld into one when the huge fronts are opened and a pleasant air stream carries the scent of the pine forest through the house. Whenever there is heavy tropical rain, however, you can safely watch the raindrops patter against the large glass surfaces. If it’s hot and humid outside, the high-ceilinged interior spaces become a place of refuge, while at night, when it’s cold, the glass fronts protect against wind, cold and would-be intruders. (GB)
project details
PSA Pablo Sepulveda Arquitectos, Mexico-City
PSA Pablo Sepulveda Arquitectos, Mexico-City
steel profile system
© Rafael Gamo