La Cueva: Construction Innovation in the Midst of Nature - La Cueva: Construction Innovation in the Midst of Nature
La Cueva: Construction Innovation in the Midst of Nature
May 26, 2016
This spectacular project is several miles from civilization and blends with its environment.
In the most remote sites and even under the most adverse climates, CEMEX is taking part in projects that blend with their surroundings and try to make a minimal impact on the environment. This is the case with La Cueva, an architectural project built in a cross-border private conservation area between Mexico and the United States called El Carmen. The El Carmen reserve includes deserts, grasslands, forests, and other ecosystems rich in biodiversity. La Cueva is a 260-square-meter property located several miles from civilization and barely accessible via dirt roads.
Ninety percent of La Cueva was built with local materials in a small glen as part of the land’s natural slope, so it is nearly undetectable from a distance. Thanks to this concept, which successfully combines state-of-the-art construction techniques and modern materials, La Cueva won first place in the “Cultural & Educational Building” category, as well as first place in the “Sustainable Building” category at the 14th Mexico edition of the CEMEX Building Award.
“It was conceived as a refuge within a wild environment. That is why [as our inspiration] we returned to the first places mankind used as protection: caves,” explains Kenji López, head of Greenfield MX, the boutique architectural agency that led this project.
It was built with tamped earth, concrete, stone, steel, and wood as the main elements. These and other materials were sourced from within a 10-kilometer radius.
“The sheets and beams were repurposed from abandoned structures in the region. The walls are made of earth and stones from the area,” explained the civil engineer.
Much of the supervision of this 200-square-meter construction project was performed virtually. Prior planning and logistics were no less complicated because the construction system was reduced, with no room for setbacks or downtime.
The transportation of concrete and other materials from Monterrey, a four-hour trip by road, was programmed months in advance; after which a team of 20 workers traveled to the reserve, where they lived for three weeks.
Greenfield MX confirms that this project represented an incredible learning experience and opportunity. It is truly unique to create a sustainable refuge on virgin territory.
CEMEX is a global building materials company that provides high quality products and reliable service to customers and communities in more than 50 countries. Celebrating its 110th anniversary, CEMEX has a rich history of improving the well-being of those it serves through innovative building solutions, efficiency advancements, and efforts to promote a sustainable future.