S'porean, 31, builds gorgeous 'mirrored' house on extinct volcano in Mexico, available on Airbnb

He had migrated to Mexico by himself in 2017.

Ashley Tan | October 15, 2020, 11:49 AM

Here's something to log down in your itinerary once travel restrictions are lifted.

A luxurious stay away from the city, on the slopes of an extinct volcano in Mexico.

Migrated to a land of strangers

In the middle of the semi-arid wilderness of the Mexico mountain range among the scrub and sandy slopes, sits a mirrored anomaly.

The small house belongs to one 31-year-old Singaporean, Prashant Ashoka.

Prashant migrated to far-flung Mexico in 2017, he revealed in a social media post.

View this post on Instagram

@casa_eterea

A post shared by Prashant Ashoka (@prashant.ashoka) on

He had apparently left his family and friends behind in Singapore, and arrived in a city of strangers with only two suitcases.

The freelance writer described navigating an entirely new social scene and environment, and yet feeling the stirrings of striking out in a new city with his own business.

"And as I spent my first few months navigating a new social scene and coursing through the raucous nights of Mexico City, there certainly were no miraculous answers, instant healings or rebirths of any kind in sight. It was just me, probably more alone than I had ever been before — with this little whisper of intuition that I had to give myself a chance at trying to create my own business."

Off-grid hideaway

There, Prashant became increasingly enraptured by the "tiny house movement".

Although he has no background in architecture or design, he decided to construct his very own house.

And not at any conventional location either — but on the slopes on the extinct volcano 25 minutes away from the town centre of San Miguel de Allende.

With limited resources, Prashant stated that he had had to manage the entire construction process by himself.

The result of this three-year project is Casa Etérea, the latter word of which is Spanish for "ethereal".

One side of the 75sqm building is made up of a mirrored surface which reflects the skies and arid scrubland beyond.

Photos from Airbnb

The entire house is essentially one room, and contains a central living space, kitchen area and bedroom, fit for two occupants.

Photos from Airbnb

Photos from Airbnb

The sliding glass doors offer views of the surrounding wilderness, and opens to a patio with a small pool.

Photos from Airbnb

Sustainable home

Not only is the house aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but it's sustainable as well.

Described as an "off-grid hideaway", the house draws all its power from solar energy and water is supplied from rainwater.

Photos from Airbnb

The effects of the building on nature was also a priority.

The windows and glass doors are coated with ultraviolet coating so as to make it visible to birds. Oftentimes, glass surfaces pose a high risk to flying birds who end up crashing into them and suffering injuries.

As the house is located in such a rural area, its occupants might be lucky enough to spot the area's wildlife inhabitants such as hawks, rattlesnakes, white-tailed deer and mountain lions.

With how visible nature is from the small house, Prashant's vision was to create a "theatre to nature", and achieve a "complete integration with the environment".

Photos from Airbnb

Emotional architecture

To Ashoka, this house is definitely more than just a gorgeous looking accommodation as you can tell by now.

Elaborating on the ethos and process of conceptualisation in his post, Prashant said that he wanted to build something surrounded nature which would "stir a sense of wonder and encourage dreaming".

"I remember standing on the land that first spring, flanked by mammoth cliffs and utterly moved by the immensity of the sweeping highlands, brimming with an anticipation to create," he wrote.

Prashant was inspired by "emotional architecture", architecture that aims to elicit a spiritual connection between the space and user.

Photos from Airbnb

Highlighting the interplay between light and the environment on the building's mirrored facade, Prashant explained how such architecture is able to become an extension of the environment.

"By creating a reciprocal dialogue between the construction and the terrain, the project is a testament for how the natural landscape can be made clearer by architecture, while not being tamed".

At the moment, the house is available for booking via Airbnb.

The description states that although it may seem isolated, there are six other family homes in the vicinity, and it is a 10-minute drive away from the supermarket, hospital and cinema.

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Top photos courtesy of Prashant Ashoka