The Best Architecture and Design on the Oaxaca Riviera: You Told Us!

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 7.42.10 PMBy Marcia Chaiken and Jan Chaiken

The March issue of the Huatulco Eye focused on Mexican architecture and design. Since we know that our writers’ views of coastal Oaxaca don’t always agree with yours, we asked you, our readers, to tell us what types of coastal architecture and design you think are the best. Once again, we received a wide variety of opinions.

The form of architecture in Mexico that over one-third (36%) of our respondents prefer is Spanish colonial, followed by Mediterranean (25%) and modern (18%). Napoleon apparently wasted his time and money trying to shape architecture in the new world since the style least preferred by our readers is French colonial.

Even given the many colors of buildings on the Oaxacan Coast, a majority of our respondents (57%) said they preferred neutral colors such as white or tan. Among the bright-color fans, most (58%) enjoy the coastal buildings displaying the sun-kissed shades of red, orange and yellow. However, one reader made clear that his favorite building color is “that really bright purple.” Hopefully his partner prefers one of the neutral colors and gets to choose the color of their home.

Readers’ opinions diverged on the question about the area around which bay in Huatulco has the most attractive use of space and architecture. There was no clear consensus. Conejos was nominated by 22%, Tangolunda, by 19% and Arrocito, Chahue and Santa Cruz tied in third place with 15% of respondents naming each of those areas. We can all sigh with relief that our own favorite area is not likely to be overrun by new residents who want to live in the most attractive area of Huatulco.

Respondents tended to be in greater agreement about the product that can be purchased on the Oaxacan Coast that best typifies good Mexican design. Clay products in the form of pottery or tiles were nominated by 44% of respondents – and most of these preferred pottery in either black barro negro or terra cotta. Other designs mentioned and available to keep the most ardent shopper happy included textiles (tehuana dresses, table clothes, bed spreads), hammocks, mezcal bottles, furniture and, of course, the whimsical wooden alebrijes.

Readers nominated 7 places as the most beautifully designed public garden or park on the Oaxacan Coast – all in Huatulco. The gardens and parks of Chahue took first prize with 50% of the respondents naming either Parque Hundido surrounding the UMAR bookstore, Guelaguetza Park (next to the Marina Park Plaza), or more generically, the gardens of Chahue. The eco-archeological park in Copalita was nominated by 17% of respondents, as was Parque Central in Crucecita.

When asked which single building represents the best of architecture on the Oaxacan coast, most respondents provided answers that were meaningful to themselves, such as hotels, condos, private homes and shops. The only building to be mentioned by more than 15% of respondents was the church in Crucecita, La Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe.

Given our readers wide-ranging preferences in colors, designs, and architecture we have no fear that coastal Oaxaca will turn into one of the boring places where every development looks the same. Each bay, street and garden provides a different perspective. No wonder we love living on the Oaxacan Riviera. Marcia and Jan Chaiken live in Huatulco and Ashland, Oregon

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