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Loreto Bay

The 8,000 acre Villages of Loreto Bay, located on the Sea of Cortez in Baja California South, Mexico. Combining the most basic elements of nature – sun, water, and sand. 


From 2003 – 2010 we had the opportunity to work with David Butterfield as part of the Trust for Sustainable Development team. Knowing David, we realized that he had envisioned a remarkably unique project. His dream was to create a community that generated more potable water than it used, produced more energy than it consumed, and improved the ecosystem where it was located.  Loreto Bay was planned to extend the principles of sustainability to the real estate construction industry. It also incorporated the concepts of New Urbanism, where residents travel throughout their villages by foot, bicycle or electric-powered golf carts, moving over flagstone streets purposely made too narrow for automobiles.

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The original development plan was to include 6,000 homes, from small condos to 4,000 square foot custom homes.  Homes and shops were formed into groupings called Villages, each with its own small commercial centre, and inter-connected communal green spaces and pools. The master plan included the ecological restoration of estuaries, the use of individual solar-heated water units in homes, and a seawater desalination plant. The Design Guidelines deliberately created a pattern for beautiful courtyard housing, with an emphasis on indoor-outdoor living, and artisanal features.

Currently:

  • The architectural features reflect the aesthetics and most loved elements of sun drenched Latin American Villas
  • The homes feature solar hot water heaters, and solar photovoltaic systems are used in the community for fountain pumps and other systems. Many homes are built with “Perform-wall”, a recycled concrete-Styrofoam building system, with an R-40 insulation rating
  • Homes and businesses incorporate low-flow fixtures and appliances, while the golf course uses paspalum grass, a saline-tolerant, low-growing plant that requires considerably less freshwater than typical golf course grass
  • The natural areas permanently set aside within the 8,000-acre project contain two watersheds. Loreto Bay implemented a watershed and estuary restoration program by placing check dams and flow-slowing structures at runoff channels so that mountain runoff would be collected and replenish the existing aquifer
  • Waste organics is collected and creates a compost product that is subsequently used onsite for landscaping and agriculture