Architects: Estudio BaBo
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Project Team: Francisco Kocourek, Francesc Planas Penadés, Marit Haugen Stabell
Collaborators: Marcos Buceta, Marco Fumagalli
Construction: DAC S.A.
Structure: Ing. Carlos Calissano
Project Year: 2011
Project Area: 265 sqm
Photographs: Curro Palacios Taberner
The project is located on a corner lot in a traditional Country Club in Pilar in the province of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Despite the uniformity that these kinds of lots usually present, both regarding the physical characteristics, the landscape, and the area, a part from the corner position, the plot presents some peculiarities relevant enough to act as detonating to the main design. On one hand it is placed by the edge of the Club, and thereby has a double, 2.5 meter high fence completely filled by vegetation in the best orientation sun wise. On the other hand, across the road we find a public square, one of the few existing in the club apart from the general areas reserved for sports and leisure.
The assignment consists of designing an isolated single-family house for a family of three. The intention is for the house to be used mainly for weekend stays and during the summer period, but it could be transformed into a normal residence in the future. The following program is thereby established; on one hand a public day area consisting of a hall, a combined living- and dining room, a toilette, a covered exterior terrace and a guest room or pavilion. On the other hand a private night area with a main bedroom with a private bathroom and two secondary bedrooms sharing a bathroom. Finally there is a service area with bedroom, bathroom, laundry room, technical room and a garage for two cars that also could be used as an informal play – room. The clients wish is to minimize the transitions between the different areas, and if possible, to solve the program on one single floor. The social areas are to be prioritized and emphasis should be put on creating a varied and fluid relationship between these spaces as well as between interior and exterior.
After taking all of these variables into consideration the resulting project is a lineal piece covering the entire buildable length of the lot. It is placed parallel to the access road leaving a considerable area for the garden, which is left, directed to the north/northeast. All the main areas of the house are given a linear layout providing them with a view of the garden and giving the house a slim shape. The principal terrace with the incorporated grill is arranged tangentially to this piece, in the same way as the sun deck and the pool, following the same directives. This piece, is understood as a filter between the principal access street and the garden, establishing different levels of transparency, as be convenient, from the passage terrace who links directly and openly both areas (to facilitate the traffic to the grill, up to the denial of this relation in the guests’ pavilion (where a perpendicular link is established to this one, with to be / be and with another street).
Once the general disposition and the placement in the plot are proposed and considering the impossibility of solving the program on one floor, due to the low F.O.S., the decision that defines the volume morphologically and that leads to the solution of the section is taken: The three general areas of the program are linked together by semi levels. The day area and the night area are connected by a staggered ramp, of a more direct and fluid way, in the direction rose by the client. At the end of the terrace structure, the guests’ pavilion is executed in simple height, generating by this an entry for light from the west illuminating the central space. On the opposite side, the garage / playroom remains semi buried as the rest of the service area, sifting his relationship with the garden and establishing a relationship with the street.
The implementation of these half levels to solve the program is reflected in the constructive – formal resolution of the piece. The facades are parted horizontally in tree parting from the interior situation, the need of breastworks and the size of the windows. The three resultant stripes are articulated tectonically, generating tension and mass: the windows are understood as the absence of these stripes. To keep the proposal within the planted logic, there are no intermediate columns; the stripes are considered structural elements, walls of reinforced concrete allowing them to cover large distances. The palette of materials is limited to the white painted structural concrete, promoting this way the texture of the wooden formwork and fulfilling the regulation of the particular area of the club. Windows are made in white aluminum, (double) glass and structures of wood as necessary sieves. All the walls are double with insulation and for the interiors plaster were chosen for the walls and granite mosaics for the floor of the ground floor and Guatambú wood for the top floor. The ceilings are made of concrete painted white.
To conceive the project process as a linear development where direct cause and effect relationships are established between the problematic of the program or pre set indications from the surroundings and the adopted formal solutions. To understand the section as the generating factor and achieve an understanding of the technology of the reinforced concrete from the conceptual layout to the details of the execution.