Arcoiris Sur / Roberto Rijo

Architect: Roberto Rijo + Arquitectos Asociados
Location: Santo Domingo,
Collaborators: Elaine Rodriguez & Franklin Garcia
Electrical Engineer: Ing. Gabino Hernandez
Contractor, Lighting and Landscape: + Arquitectos Asociados
Sanitary Engineer: Ing. Rafael Ramirez
Site Area: 9,894 sqm
Constructed Area: 7,340 sqm
Project year: 2007–2008
Photographs: Roberto Rijo + Arquitectos Asociados

Los Peralejos is an area located on the Northeastern side of the city of Santo Domingo, just north from Juan Pablo Duarte high-way, the main thoroughfare in the island, and next to Republica de Colombia Ave., which runs along Santo Domingo‘s Green Belt. These are the main access ways into the city from the island’s North-Central region (known as Cibao), the area where the country’s the main agricultural and livestock production is to be found.

This has brought about the development of large, unplanned industrial production and service centers throughout the area surrounding our project, that mingle with large areas of informal dwelling along with new real state developments that have, in turn, resulted in an expansion of business and social exchange and, thus, in a sustained increase in the area’s population as a result of which a large deficit of living space has been triggered.

A distinct trait of the area is the mixed use of the land and the existence of large empty lots. The basic infrastructure -namely drinking water, power supply lines, roads, etc. – are only now being put in place, which has an effect on the development of new real state projects, which are to be conceived within the context of the informal dwelling alternatives that define the landscape.

It is in this context that we were asked to develop a lot of approximately 9,000 sqm, and slightly irregular topography. We were called to develop a real state project aimed at the social stratum that generates the aforementioned housing expansion.

site plan

Our lot is located right on Republica de Colombia Ave. This project’s particular parameters are:

  • We have projected an entranceway that runs parallel to the main avenue, to reduce the impact that direct access to the development from said avenue would bring. We have also projected landscaping on both sides of the entranceway to lower noise levels.
  • The compositional principle that we have proposed is naturally defined by the lot’s topography and shape.

The model we have proposed comprises a closed set of units that long for intimacy and protection as they interact with their own unplanned context. The main axis is devoted to circulation and it splits the lot into two areas that we have further divided into three, which we have then used to develop different typological variations; i.e. detached single-family units, paired single-family units and attached single-family units, thus providing for a more reasonable use of the land and several design choices.

These units maintain a similar geometry and regular alignment while following the street axis. The organization of these inhabitable volumes provides a fragmented vision, which in turn causes a number of variations associated with composition, color and shape along the axis.

The proposed units are developed into two levels, where the social and service facilities are located on the lower level while the upper level houses the sleeping quarters. Each unit has a garden in the front, a verandah and a small backyard.

Cite: "Arcoiris Sur / Roberto Rijo" 07 Jul 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 26 May 2015. <>
  • MZ

    Nice project, good proportions and application of colors, it not boring, but still held together. I was just wondering, what the “service area” is on the first floor plans. It looks like a one-room-minimal-appartment. I know it is in Latin-America, but is it really true, that an upper-middle-class resident, who buys such a row house unit for his fammily, needs and is actually able to afford a permanent service personell? For europeans, like me, that is just unimaginable and lays in an another world.

    • Julio Fernandez

      Yes it is true. Nanny’s generally should win around $200 US which is totally affordable and sadly unacceptable…

    • JuanLuisBurke

      I hear you, it’s unacceptable and might seem extremely foreign to a European, but in Mexico, for instance, many houses will have a “service area”, which is intended to house a maid or nanny who is supposed to live there in the house with the family, but they will usually be bigger houses than these.

      Now, happily, I think the practice of having an underpaid maid is not so popular anymore in Mexico among young couples (who seem to realize that the practice is not such a great deal for these women), and in the case of these rather small residences, I find it hard to believe many will actually have or need to have a full-time person occupying that room.
      But then again, this is in Dominican Republic, a country I know nothing about. Cheers.

  • The Big Black & White Zebra

    I like this
    It should be a basic standard of housing for anyone, anywhere… just two points.

    How on earth were those entrance doors specified. One looks like a bad Louis XV baroque copy, and how come changes of colour on the facade occur at an external corner rather than an internal corner.

    Noticed the latter a lot in Spain. It’s OK when there is an intention to do this. You should all check out the Kix bar in Vienna, Austria – very cool anyway, but colour is handled great.

  • Jeison

    Too bad there aren´t pics of the interiors.

  • Malgorzata Boguslaw

    Always the same. If an architect designs row houses, always every one is identical. Why not design every home different ,but in the same style, using similiar forms and details?

    • Archlad

      Economies of scale mate. You have to consider the financial issues within a project as well.

  • tropicalismo360

    client + brief = battery chickens

  • tobias

    muy bien excelente

  • Francisco Pardo Téllez

    Por la orientación las casas estan recibiendo el sol fuertemente en sus fachadas oriente y occidente, hizo falta un corte para expresar cómo es la protección.
    Coincidiendo con comentarios anteriores, a podido ser un solo tipo de casa, ya con 4 diferentes el desafio de hacerlas todas diferentes, pero conservando caracteristicas comunes habría sido interesante.
    Me agrada el color..!!!

  • The Big Black & White Zebra

    Why is all being the same a problem…
    Being part of a greater whole is not bad for ones humility

    Anyway the architect provides a canvas for the client or end-user to use as they want to impose their character and personality.

    That being said… come back in twenty or thirty years and I can guarantee the landlord will have lost all control or interest in the external re-decorations…. they’ll be a kaleidoscopic mix of tenants predilections.

    Normally happens that way… time breaks an architect’s will.

  • jose

    it looks like a subsidized project by the government
    I’ve seen better options but the sad part is that is for upper middle class
    I don’t understand gated community! and the choice of colors?

  • theChavacano

    Well in México this is the standar for ¨contemporary ¨ dwelling for middle class families, the plans and facade are the same everywhere in here. Nothing extraordinary but cute anyway.

  • Luison

    It’s a pity that in dominican republic are building this kind of housing developments.
    The walled middle class ghettos are the cancer of the cities in Mexico and in many latinamerican countries. We are in the 21st century, how the hell are they still doing this…. shame.

    • theChavacano

      the middle the lower and the pseudo higher

  • Luison

    y más indignante aún que este tipo de desarrollos encuentren un espacio de difusion en este sitio, que lo unico que propicia es a una transvaloración de lo urbano, ya que solo muestra el espejismo estético de la mediocridad arquitectónica ante la especulación inmobiliaria.

  • theChavacano

    mh what happend with my last comment?