Friday, July 19, 2024

The ALMA Experience: Modern Mexican architecture in the heart of Huatulco

This article is brought to you together with ALMA.

If you’re thinking about investing in Mexico, ALMA, a new nature integrated development situated in the heart of abundant nature atop the Pacific Ocean cliffs and a four-minute drive from downtown Huatulco, Mexico, presents a one-of-a-kind opportunity. This distinctive development encompasses a truly unique lifestyle designed by two of Mexico’s foremost modern architects.  Imagine visionary and modern Mexican architectural language, offering luxury living that blends with the host environment –  that is ALMA.

ALMA is the first luxury, sustainable, modern community residence of its kind in Huatulco and occupies an area of land on the edge of a recently designated National Park, close to downtown Huatulco, La Crucecita, with shops, restaurants, and culture.  Its significance lies in its creative, respectful conception and design, brought to fruition by the masterful eye of renowned Mexican architects Jose Juan Rivera Rio (JJRR), who has enjoyed recent success at the Venice Biennale and whose design maxim is “listen to the land and it will tell you what to do”, and Modica-Ledezma.

ALMA is part of a low-density community that prioritizes care for the landscape and climate-responsive design.

Noemie Bourdin-Habert and Frederic Baron, founders of Esencia Desarrollos, are entrepreneurial French developers with an extensive worldly background in renewable energies and real estate, who share a passion for architecture and a deep respect for nature.     

Why Choose ALMA, a residence nestled in the heart of preserved nature?

Huatulco is booming. The city, brimming with culture, nature,  clean air, and safe streets, has recently welcomed a new highway which has reduced travel time to Oaxaca City to three and a half hours and boasts an international airport that serves daily flights to CDMX, Oaxaca and Dallas, seasonal flights to major U.S. cities, and several flights per week to Guadalajara and Monterrey.  As one of the largest biodiverse environments in Mexico, offering bountiful forests, beautiful beaches, marine flora and fauna, and 10,000 ft mountains, Huatulco is the ideal location for this one-of-a-kind residential project, ALMA.  

As construction is projected to commence over the late summer, the value of any one of the forty-six bespoke condos and villas is projected to increase tremendously.  Indeed, Huatulco is witnessing a property boom, with an average of 42% increase in value during the construction of high-end residences, and with some values even doubling since the pandemic. 

“Architecture is a major art form,” comment Noemie and Frederic, “and our chosen architects are both artists and engineers,” believing that an intelligently conceived holistic environment can elevate your lifestyle radically. 

huatulco mexico
Saltwater pools, wellness center, or concierge service, ALMA has everything you need.

Huatulco’s density regulations are tightly controlled. ALMA’s tallest building only reaches 32 ft, while the tallest trees reach 50 ft, thus keeping the building line well below the tree line and blending into the landscape. The sleek, clean, light structures with abundant glass boast terraces that are masterfully shaded by overhanging green roofs, and the overall design evokes a sense of the landscape’s harmonious flow into the interior spaces.

Setting ALMA apart: what makes ALMA unique in Mexico?

After almost 15 years of working with renewable energy companies in China, Noemie drew a good part of the vision for ALMA from her experience of working to protect the environment.  Frederic’s fifteen years of experience in the real estate industry in France saw him work with major brands Bouygues, Vinci, George V, Eiffage, Kaufman & Broad. Their mutual love of the visual arts and the language of form and space have created their combined distinctive architectural eye.  

After leaving France, the couple scouted the world for two years, searching for locations that would tick all the boxes for the creation of ALMA. Many locations were overpopulated and overdeveloped, but after traveling through Mexico, they decided instantly that Huatulco presented the perfect framework and conditions for ALMA. “It was the right time and the right space for ALMA to come to life,” Frederic says. Huatulco is also unique in that it offers 90% of its electricity through renewable energies, has one of the cleanest water treatment systems in the country, and 50% of its territory is protected by way of National Parks. 

“We have both witnessed the possible pitfalls of eco-design in our careers. Solar panels alone are not enough; you need a strong commitment and a collaboration between architects and engineers that promote intelligent design and artistry for an exceptional daily living style, combined with a visionary local governance.”

huatulco mexico, the state of oaxaca
The picturesque Huatulco coast is the perfect location for those looking to live in harmony with Mexican nature.

ALMA prioritizes nature and sustainable living

ALMA sits amidst a stunning topography of canyons and hills sloping towards the Pacific Ocean, with south-facing views. It grants each property its own distinctive view and ambiance.  ALMA’s creators emphasize the importance of a low-density, year-round living experience.  “More than that,” says Noemie, “we want our residents to feel happy and peaceful here beyond one season.” Having lived in Huatulco for over three years themselves, they are familiar with the climate, season after season, and the particularities of the region, so have worked carefully with the architects around these criteria. 

Living deeply connected to nature, ALMA has alternatives to air conditioning artfully factored into its design. Whilst air conditioning is available, natural cooling features (cross breeze, cooling green roofs, shade and materials) allows for choice, and the reduction of electricity consumption. Luxury amenities and materials co-exist with sustainable design to offer large terraces with integrated greenery and a fresh saltwater pool in each villa. Abundant light, a source of happiness in the home, and temperature versatility is also catered to by well-shaded floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors and mosquito screens, essential in these latitudes. 

Parking spaces integrated into each lot foster privacy and provide greater convenience than a large community parking lot, common to a residential complex. “From every angle, we wanted each property to feel separate and unique, whilst benefiting from the amenities and services of communal living,” Noemie tells us. 

Additionally, they have designed two stunning floating infinity pools, 82 and 108 feet respectively, which skim the cliff’s edge and boast magnificent ocean views, as if merging with sky, ocean, and forest simultaneously. 

huatulco mexico
ALMA is an intimate development, allowing you to truly connect with Huatulco’s abundant nature and blur the boundary between the indoors and outdoors.

ALMA: safety, privacy and a glimpse into the community

ALMA has so far attracted residents who possess an appreciation for architecture and nature but who are also looking for security, privacy, exclusivity, amenities, and services. Noemie tells us, “We are so thrilled to have welcomed a resident base, 25% of which are Mexican, 25% American, 25% Canadian and 25% European – which include younger entrepreneurs, families and retirees.” Residents tend to embrace an active, outdoor life and may work locally, but that hasn’t excluded the international crowd or part-time legacy investors, “although we are definitely seeing a trend towards full-time living,” Noemie continues.

ALMA’s entrance through a low canyon pass sets the inviting ambiance with its discreet, cacti-covered security fence.  A concierge service offers 24-hour security, a private beach shuttle service, access to private chefs and information about local excursions and services. ALMA’s wellness center offers a cool environment amidst greenery, with massage services, sauna, a jacuzzi, a cold plunge pool, and a sizable gym.  Proximity to Huatulco means shops and restaurants are an easy trip, while in the other direction, nature’s beauty is easily accessible: National Park, mountains, virgin beaches and bays, mangroves and smaller towns and villages.

Investing in ALMA: Projections on Value Increase and Real Estate Potential

It’s a perfect time to invest in this stunning and innovative low-density community.  Huatulco is more of a hot spot than ever in its history, yet still at a fraction of property values in Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, or Los Cabos.

Starting at US $675,000 for a two-bedroom condo to around $1.7 million for the four-bedroom grand villa, ALMA presents a distinctive modern vision for living, as low density architect-designed communities and single family homes are commonly seeing a better increase in property value than other types of residences. Noemie and Frederic note, “Buying at this earlier stage of the project, you’re looking at the highest increase in property value.”

“ALMA’s success has been contingent on its setting within Huatulco, which has the right DNA for it,” Noemie and Frederic conclude. Whilst its design may not be unique in the world, it is certainly rare to find this standard of sustainable luxury anywhere, and the creative dream team hopes to set a precedent in the market and a lifestyle example in Mexico to follow. 

This article is sponsored by ALMA.

Henrietta Weekes is a writer, editor, actor and narrator. She divides her time between San Miguel de Allende, New York and Oxford, UK.

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