Project ArchitectsGerardo Caballero, Maite Fernández, Orlando Alloatti
Project Area800.0 m2
CollaboratorsPablo Leguizamón, Derek Sloane, Jaime Cumpa
Text description provided by the architects. League after league, the same vultures give the impression of hovering over the same carcass, and the same wild horses, traveling in winter, graze in herds of fifteen or twenty, quiet and tiny on the horizon. Juan José Saer, The Clouds.
Every time I look at a house by Gerardo Caballero and Maite Fernández I have the impression that the project has started from the door, setting the position of the door, looking for ways to enter the house. In Miraflores House, the door presents itself perpendicular to the path of arrival on foot or by car, that is, on its side, to better slim its figure (perhaps something learned from the master Siza). We can see how in a photograph of the house, the view of the west facade has been placed so that the door remains invisible, even if it has a considerable width. As a product of this, the house is offered to us as "an opaque package, turned back", virtually convex.
We crossed the door and the house unfolds in an L shape, with uneven ends. In the short end, facing east, the house provides a firm contact with the ground plane, while at the other end, more dilated, oriented north, the house is suddenly off the ground in a bucking the sets it on two slender pillars in an unstable situation. Some of that same impulse seems to register the house by Clorindo Testa in Pedrera. At this end, the path of the visitor, linear and limitless, traverses the service area and stretches outward through a gallery; or branches beforehand ascending up a narrow side staircase that lines up as a chute into the bedroom area. However, in the short end, the journey is closed on itself in a jammed end, stopped after passing the master bedroom closet, to finish off blocked by the bathroom wall. The last image delivered by the end of each journey is also contrasted: the north end, with the horizontal outside landscape and its variations throughout the day and seasons, is opposed to the other end with the repeated image of the interior, with the face of the viewer, duplicated by the bathroom mirror.
After passing the entrance and turning left, a brutal fact comes upon us. A few inches from our heads cantilevers a T, formed by the meeting of two beams that build the lintel of the largest window overlooking the courtyard. This T moves towards us virtually severing the lobby-library entrance to the house, and defines the opening to the living-dining room, and the folded part of the window looking north. This T also produces a coupling of the house to the ground, while determining its two main directions. It fixes a point in the circular space of the vast plain, as does a crossroads. The house is an L which becomes T (they say Marcelo Villafañe does X). But if the house is connected to the ground by this crossroads of the T beam, a few meters above it, the roof makes a round movement, like the twist of a horse, which excites and destabilizes the appeased image of the house.
There is a couple in cinema that suggests the house. In North by Northwest, by Hitchcock, Cary Grant, stationed at a crossroads in the American midwest -in the middle of nowhere-, hurls himself in a vertical race one way, while a crop duster threatens hovering over his head, until Grant finally manages to escape, hiding in a cornfield. This circular movement that unfolds the roof has a firm support in the tree in the courtyard, which even though it is not on the ground, it does appear in sketches and drawings by Caballero.
If the house is a horse that turns around, the tree is the post that sustains the movement.
"Parar rodeo" was called the habituation of the pack to a certain place. This guaranteed a quiet and unified herd. For this purpose, a vertical stick was stuck in the ground that served as a reference to animals. We consider this vertical trunk as one of the first faint changes in the landscape. It is logical that in the absence of trees and the ubiquitous horizontality, a simple vertical line acquires a founding power. This image, though weak, (...) has further references in the "palo de doma".1
This tree in Miraflores House plays an analogous role to another tree, the one in Frittegotto house. There, the tree is also at the center of a dance, which is established between the existing wall that chamfers the property from the street and its reflection, the wall of the house that folds over the garden.
At the same time, the tree in Miraflores House is projected perpendicularly to the house and penetrates inside transmuting into its horizontal inverse, the partition of the main bedroom, and oblique, the plane of the staircase that unfolds from it. A similar operation occurs in Cinalli House, where the tree in the courtyard builds a plane of correspondence with the wall that divides the bedroom/living room.
Miraflores House shows that, in the plains, to look at the flowers, to scan the momentarily postponed last and final horizon line, one must be raised, loosened from the soil: "The posts should have broad vision to monitor confidently and to ensure the defense in case of attackers, (...)"/ 1
Text by Arq. Rodolfo Corrente