Architects: DURAN&HERMIDA arquitectos asociados
Location: Cuenca, Ecuador
Architect In Charge: Javier Duran and Maria Augusta Hermida
Area: 581.02 sqm
Photographs: Sebastián Crespo
From the architect. These houses are located at “Los Andes” mountains, in a place with steep slopes, at a peripheral sector of the city of Cuenca (2500m over the sea level) It has fabulous sights to the city, to the Cajas Natural Park and to San Joaquín (agricultural area that supplies food to the city). The goal of the project is to take advantage of these views and to build in steep slopes learning from vernacular houses.
The land had a foundation built for a previous project, which had to be used in order to cut costs. This foundation requires us to build four semi-detached houses in pairs: the larger ones over the existing foundation develop in a bay and a half (each bay of 6m), and the smaller one in one bay of 6m.
The construction system respects the slopes of the terrain and is based on bearing solid brick walls and pre stressed beams of 6m long. This system allows us to create open spaces, without columns, that flow and interact with each other. Retaining walls, needed for the platforms, are built with stones of nearby rivers.
The challenge was to create open domestic spaces in just 6 meters wide and build affordable and competitive housing in the local market.