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Casa Etérea: a glass house in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico by Prashant Ashoka

Project name:
Casa Etérea
Architecture firm:
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Kevin Scott, Prashant Ashoka, Estudio Mavix
Principal architect:
Prashant Ashoka
Design team:
Prashant Ashoka
Oskar Chertudi Maya, Gabriel Lopategui, Octavio Cambron Munguia, Mario Gonzalez, Antonio Santana
Interior design:
Prashant Ashoka + Namuh
Built area:
75 m²
Site area:
8,000 m²
Design year:
Completion year:
Civil engineer:
Prashant Ashoka
Structural engineer:
Prashant Ashoka
Environmental & MEP:
Prashant Ashoka
Octavio Cambron Munguia
Prashant Ashoka
Prashant Ashoka
Tools used:
SketchUp, AutoCAD
Workers in Mexico
Prashant Ashoka
Residential › House

Casa Etére: an Eco-powered mirrored house on extinct volcano uses bird-friendly glass, designed by Mexico-based Singaporean writer and designer Prashant Ashoka.

Riding on a new wave of isolationist travel in the COVID-19 era, a secluded mirrored house on a mountainside in Mexico offers travelers the freedom to reconnect with nature.

Sequestered amidst mesquite trees, an isolated writer’s retreat clad in bird-friendly mirrored panels disappears into the rugged slopes of the extinct volcano Palo Huérfano, 20 minutes from the UNESCO World Heritage Site of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

reflection of stars in the glass house at night image © Prashant Ashoka


Conceived as an off-grid hideaway for two – by Mexico-based Singaporean writer and designer Prashant Ashoka – Casa Etérea  is a 75-square-metre dwelling that draws all its power from solar energy; its water supply from collected rainwater; and uses a patterned ultraviolet coating on the mirror making it visible to birds while remaining reflective to the human eye.

“The vision was to create a theatre to nature”, Ashoka explains, “so sustainability was crucial in achieving a truly complete integration with the environment”.

bedroom with large windows and telescope to see stars image © Prashant Ashoka

Working from an intention to leave the landscape untouched, the foundation of the house was built entirely from rock collected off the mountain. And by utilizing site orientation, efficient ventilation design, and insulated glass, the house naturally regulates temperature in the semi-arid desert climate of the central Mexican highlands.



The open-planned concept consists of two rectilinear volumes that merge at a 120-degree V-shaped intersection – drawing an angular likeness to a staggering ravine visible through the exposed glass shower.

From the central living space and bedroom, floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors frame vistas of towering cliffs, while opening to connect with a decked patio and pool area shaded by olive and pomegranate trees. Behind the intimate kitchen, a rooftop stairway access doubles as a utility room, and remote-controlled outdoor PVC shutters were added to provide security and privacy.

metal bathtub in bedroom image © Estudio Mavix 

Inside, exposed ceiling beams and concrete walls celebrate the construction process, while a material palate of jute, leather, wood and stone continue the natural aesthetic for the furnishings – including a statement copper bathtub beside the bed.

wooden side table image © Estudio Mavix 


Heavily inspired by the concept of “emotional architecture,” – coined by Mexican architect Luis Barragán and sculptor-painter Mathias Goéritz – Casa Etérea achieves this deeper sensory resonance by using exterior mirrored panels to create a visually abstract and interactive experience. The mirrored façade diffuses the liminal space between the wild and the structured while allowing the volume to take on a transitional quality as it reflects the unfolding seasons.

copper bathtub image © Prashant Ashoka

As it catches first light, the house gleams as a phosphorescent blue-tinged box, standing in glassy contrast against the felted nocturnal blackness of the mountainside. And in the ombre hues of sunset the volume scintillates against the landscape like a mirage, before disappearing entirely – its structural boundaries never once attempting to alter the surroundings in which it sits.

green plant near copper bathtub image © Prashant Ashoka

Alluding to this quality of the building, the name ‘Etérea’ translates from Spanish to ‘ethereal’, and suggests a nebulous, otherworldly vision. Both visually and functionally, the project touches on architecture as site-specific installation art and as an extension of the environment.

copper water pipes and bathtub image © Prashant Ashoka

On creating a reciprocal dialogue between the construction and its terrain, Ashoka says: “Light becomes a structural element of this design, distorting the perspective of where the observer begins and the landscape ends. I wanted this interplay of light and scale to evoke a deep sense of awe for the wild, and to beg questions about our role as stewards in the preservation of our ecosystems”.

pendant lamp hanged over bed image © Prashant Ashoka


As more travellers seek out remote experiences amidst social distancing concerns, spaces too have the opportunity to evolve in order to inspire a deeper examination of our relationship with nature.

According to Ashoka, such isolated lodgings have the power to turn us inwards: “These times have made us acutely aware of our interdependence with our environment. And shelters in remote places may afford us a rare stillness and opportunity to bridge the distance between us and the natural world”.

wooden bar stools at kitchen image © Prashant Ashoka

Casa Etérea is available to experience for up to two guests and can be booked directly through Instagram

decked wood and outdoor pool image © Prashant Ashoka

desert landscape outside bedroom image © Prashant Ashoka

glass house in the desert image © Prashant Ashoka

mirrored house in the desert image © Prashant Ashoka

glass house with reflection of stars at night image © Prashant Ashoka

night at desert image © Prashant Ashoka

desert glass house image © Kevin Scott

sunset reflection at mirrored glass house walls image © Kevin Scott

desert cactus at evening image © Kevin Scott

sunset sky reflection at mirrored wall of the house image © Kevin Scott

a home with illumination at night image © Kevin Scott

sheep eating in the mountain image © Kevin Scott

desert plants and sheep image © Kevin Scott

Mexican horseman in the desert mountain image © Kevin Scott

mexican desert mountain image © Kevin Scott

glass house in the desert image © Kevin Scott

bathroom shower image © Kevin Scott

mexican cowboy image © Kevin Scott

Connect with the Prashant Ashoka 

By Naser Nader Ibrahim

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