Most of the homes in Cabo Pulmo, a secluded fishing village on the southern tip of Mexico's Baja Peninsula, are simple, one-story units with palapa roofs over the entire living space. "The level of skill required to construct the concrete roofs and the very long, complex ramp stretched the abilities of everyone working on the project," says House. The ramp has two cisterns: one that collects well water for storage until it is pumped through the house purification system, and another that collects rainwater and is used for the garden.
Palapa was used only for the house's exterior. "It's pretty unhealthy to eat under palapa, prepare food or sleep under it, so we opted for flat concrete roofs all over the interior living spaces; palapa is only used over exterior terraces," says House. The palapa roof over the main house (above) is made of palm fronds over wood branches that are supported by tree trunks.