Taking Green to a Whole New Level: Casa Veintiuno by Hernandez Silva

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Central atriums featuring ponds and live trees are common in luxury office complexes — but you don’t often see one in a private home, as you see in this Veintiuno residence designed by the Mexican firm Hernandez Silva Arquitectura. Broad, shallow lighted stone steps lead you to an entrance in a wood-paneled wall; note the greenery pouring over the concrete “rail” up front! Inside, the focus on bringing the outdoors inside is evident everywhere: beside the courtyard, wood steps edged in clear glass seem to climb through the air itself (and through the tops of the trees!) to the various levels of the home. Behind the courtyard is a sleek kitchen that looks out on another greenery-filled wall; baths are finished in wood and glass with green accents and tons of natural light.

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And, speaking of natural light…don’t look now, but the roof over one corridor’s about to give you a big surprise. Watch as the lattice “ceiling” parts company from one wall; in a few moments, the opening to the sky is several feet wide and growing wider. Finally, the roof is totally gone, and the sunshine pours in. Sliding glass doors allow lots of light and air in most contemporary homes — but far rarer is the roof that disappears! In fact, the outdoors is such an integral decorating element in this home that even an entertainment center, a large room with subdued recessed lighting in its ceiling, has one wall open to a mini-atrium of sunshine and ferns. For those who love “green growing things” all around, this is the place: Casa Veintiuno.

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