While undoubtedly modern, there's an unassuming beauty to Cherem Arquitectos' Casa Candaleria — which translates literally to Candlemas House. The design itself lacks almost any pretence, but it's the perhaps the choice of materials that is most understated of all: Casa Candaleria is built from the Earth on which it stands.
There's a clear benefit to building this way. Using the materials found literally under your feet negates the need to ship materials in from a distance, which is costly both economically and environmentally.
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Rammed earth is the building technology which makes this possible. Literally an ancient technique, it involves compressing damp earth into a mould before being exposed to firm up as they dry. Though not a strong as concrete, rammed earth is more than strong enough for house-building.
And, rammed earth has good thermal mass, providing not only good insulation, but actually cooling the interior over the course of the day and heating during the night. (Think caves and churches.)
Built near San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, Casa Candaleria adds natural dyes to its earth mixture to lend the building its unusual color. Clearly Cherem Arquitectos have employed other building materials: namely parota wood, stone, concrete and ironwork. The house was built this year.