Text description provided by the architects. The need to take part in a project to incorporate new uses in a building from the past with the objective of recovering it has increased progressively. This project searches environmental sustainability and a balance between the past and the present as the dialectical pair of the city. Old constructions were conceived according to the costumes and practices of dwelling, which are no longer applicable. Adapting these constructions to the present requires changes in their typology so that new programs could be welcomed.
Characteristics of the existing building
This construction work is a recycling operation that adds value and extension to an old commercial business located in the center of La Plata city. It is a typical construction of 1910-20. It is a brick corner where there was a commercial business used for goods storage and a house on the ground floor. It represents an austere and anonymous architectural piece that, even though it is not considered a property to protect, it was of great importance to rescue it from demolition. Thus, it was given a new conception with new functions since it is a piece that contributes to the collective memory of the city. This building became now a traditional typology incorporated into the urban landscape.
Project Strategy: Recycling + Adding Value + Extending
The idea that supported the recycling was that of organizing the new project respecting not only the facade but also the existing building ground floor organization to generate the new project on the basis of the existing distribution. Consequently, this project avoids the triviality of using the facade as a simple curtain without any coherence with the inside.
The new building uses the existing load-bearing wall made of bricks that reinforce the foundation structures. The new floor of the building overlaps the apartments in such a way that they match the old commercial business and the rooms of the old house. The same happens with the entrance, which is located in the same place where it was in the original building.
Extension: the pure prism located on the old existing building box
A rectangular prism takes shape on the last two floors, away from public property line. It crosses longitudinally the volume of the brick box and it emerges over it creating a cantilever over 9th street. It was faced with Venetian glass tiles in order to create a contrast with the plinth texture and color.
Large terraces are built between the existing building located on the public property line and the volume defined by the prism where the new apartments are.
The units have different typologies and different types of entrance: apartments with common staircase, triplexes with separate entrances as independent houses and a commercial business with a chamfered corner entrance.
In conclusion, this project attempts to recover the diversity of the city and the original plinth, it keeps the height of the neighborhood in four levels and consolidates the configuration of the block as urban entity.