In the mountains of Tepoztlán, about two hours south of Mexico City, a private spa by Soler Orozco Arquitectos invites nature to flow right through it. Located a short walk from an ultramarathon runner’s weekend home, the getaway provides a quiet place for its owner to escape the city and work out in peace. “He enjoys spending time on his own,” explains Juan Soler, co-principal at Soler Orozco.
By leaving its forest setting largely untouched, the project also honours the beauty of its region, known as the birthplace of the Aztec god that created humankind. Made from volcanic stone and concrete slab covered in vegetation, the spa’s truncated cone–shaped design effectively camouflages it within its mystical surroundings — even carving space for existing trees directly into its sloped walls. The structure’s rounded form also means that it lacks any distinct boundaries or borders, merging with the natural world around it. “It becomes like its own mountain,” says Soler.
To enter the building, one walks into an open passage that cuts right through its centre. Formed by two masonry walls covered in stucco, this narrow hallway’s sense of compression makes the round room at the core all the more dramatic. Additional spaces — including a gym, sauna, cold plunge pool, massage room and change rooms — radiate out from this inner sanctum to create a ground floor that’s entirely “dedicated to the body,” says Soler.
Throughout the seasons, the building harnesses the elements to work with nature, rather than against it. Passive ventilation removes the need for air conditioning, while rainwater gets re-used for the pools and showers. As raindrops hit the disc-shaped roof, they fall through the circular void at the centre and into the round space below, where they then filter into underground cisterns. As they crash onto the ground, the sound echoes throughout the space, encouraging quiet contemplation.
While many wellness environments engage nature to deliver a heightened sense of calm, it is clear that this one taps into something even more spiritual.
A primordial retreat channels the stillness and power of its setting near humanity’s mythical birthplace.