CollaboratorsPatricia Troche, Carla Bento da Silva
Client and construction companyLukas Fúster
Text description provided by the architects. The project for Las Mercedes House was to intervene in a "sausage" house (Paraguayan housing typology where all the spaces are interconnected and also linked to a common intermediate space which is the gallery). This typology allows for multipurpose spaces, expanding the diversity of uses that can be given to the construction.
The proposal adopts this spatial interconnectivity and enhances it extending openings between spaces and heights, creating a single space virtually separated from the pre-existence.
The state of the house, built in the 1940s, was quite deplorable due to the moisture from numerous leaks and a roof on the edge of collapse due to the presence of cupi'i (termites) in the timber.
The intervention was to be done with a minimal budget (3 times lower than the reference price per square meter) which implied the recovery of materials, the reuse of all existing materials and the introduction of recycled materials.
We proceeded to disassemble the tile roof with care in order to reuse the tiles and the timber (recovering the unaffected pieces). We removed the plaster in the entire project except in the facade, to allow the walls to breathe, and we demolished interior walls. The openings were recovered entirely, also some floors. The facilities were redone externally to avoid damaging the existing walls.
The new roof was placed in the traditional manner of a tile roof, except it forms half a paraboloid, in a gesture that extends the height of the house, introduces natural light and creates a mezzanine and access to a terrace / outdoor garden; without losing the spatiality of the original house.
This construction strategy is achieved with a "beam" of rods with variable section. It also allows for light to enter indirectly, separated from the roof of the original walls.
The large space that is generated, which contains the entire housing program (cook + eat + work + rest + sleep + bath) is divided only by a rotating wall of recovered pallets of 2.40 x 2.60 m, containing the TV to optimize the versatility of the space.
Next to the old house, we built a space that contains the toilets, laundry room and a study / workshop. This space is constructed with dimensions set by the pre-existing building but in a contemporary way. The roof is a concrete slab that acts as terrace / garden, the exterior walls and floor are made of bricks recovered from demolition, the glass panes come from discarded uses, and the only structural pillar was made with reclaimed wood from demolition with a constructive system that threads discarded wood in compression with a 16mm rod prestressed by two reinforced concrete cylinders.
The end result is a "sausage house" with spaces suited to a contemporary lifestyle without discarding the genius loci in the existing building and the surrounding landscape.