Building an Instagram-worthy house on Mexico’s extinct volcano

Ilyas Sholihyn

ASIA ONE – Three years ago, way before anyone knew what would be in store in 2020, Singaporean writer and photographer Prashant Ashoka bought a one-way ticket to Mexico.

Then 28, the avid traveller left Singapore with just two suitcases of his belongings and moved into a small rented apartment in Mexico City, wanting to go on a completely new adventure and risking it all to build a new life for himself.

By the time he was featured in The Straits Times in 2018, he had already spent 10 months in the Latin American country, making a living by freelancing for lifestyle publications. It was also revealed that he was in the midst of designing and building a house in the mountainous regions of Bajio in central Mexico.

On September 28, Prashant showcased the results of his project – a sustainably-built house he dubbed Casa Etérea.

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

Despite having no background in architecture or design, Prashant conceptualised and managed the entire construction of Casa Etérea on his own. It was built in the style of a mirror house, a mirror-encased structure that blends into nature and reflects the surroundings without having the potential to hurt flying birds thanks to a special ultraviolet coating on the glass that’s visible to birds.

It’s meant to be an off-grid hideaway fit for two as the house — built on the slopes of extinct volcano Palo Huérfano — draws all power from solar energy and the water supply is from collected rainwater.

The interior of Casa Etérea. PHOTO: PRASHANT ASHOKA