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Split-Level Argentine Houses: Using Height to Separate Spaces

Split-Level Argentine Houses: Using Height to Separate Spaces

Pedroso House / BAK Arquitectos. Image © Gustavo Sosa PinillaIA House / alarciaferrer arquitectos. Image © Emilia Sierra Guzman© Emilia Sierra GuzmanCJP House / ONA - Oficina Nómada de Arquitectura. Image © Arq. Luis Abba+ 22

In architecture, split-level houses are typically in response to a plot's uneven or sloping topography. In the case of the houses featured here, their split level interiors are a matter of function, allowing spaces to be virtually separated by dividing them between raised and semi-subterranean floor layouts. For example, adjoining two spaces with a 50cm step up or drop off allows for separation without the use of walls or other physical barriers. 

This ability to "divide two spaces" without a barrier allows hierarchies to be established between spaces while simultaneously emphasizing continuity as well. In his renowned Villa Müller, Adolf Loos illustrates this tactic, prioritizing interior spaces by placing them on varying levels. By using this Raumplan, Loos divvies up the spaces of the home based on their function while maintaining the open space.

Pam and Paul's House / Craig Steely Architecture. Image © Darren Bradley
Pam and Paul's House / Craig Steely Architecture. Image © Darren Bradley

The project focuses on highlighting the pre-existing split level between the interior and the exterior. This expands the living room over the terrace while the kitchen remains "submerged," allowing the terrace to be viewed through a horizontally placed thin glass slit.

— Excerpt from  PH Freire / Ignacio Szulman architect

To illustrate these split-level layouts, we've compiled a selection of 10 Argentine houses that integrate elevated and submerged floorplans to differentiate between spaces without losing their visual continuity:

CJP House / ONA - Oficina Nómada de Arquitectura

  • Year: 2020
  • Location: Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina

CJP House / ONA - Oficina Nómada de Arquitectura. Image © Arq. Luis Abba
CJP House / ONA - Oficina Nómada de Arquitectura. Image © Arq. Luis Abba
CJP House / ONA - Oficina Nómada de Arquitectura. Image
CJP House / ONA - Oficina Nómada de Arquitectura. Image

Ceramic House / Ezequiel Spinelli + Facundo S. López

  • Year: 2018
  • Location: Villa Elisa, Entre Ríos, Argentina

Ceramic House / Ezequiel Spinelli + Facundo S. López. Image © Luis Barandiarán
Ceramic House / Ezequiel Spinelli + Facundo S. López. Image © Luis Barandiarán
Ceramic House / Ezequiel Spinelli + Facundo S. López. Image
Ceramic House / Ezequiel Spinelli + Facundo S. López. Image

PH Freire / Ignacio Szulman arquitecto

  • Year: 2018
  • Location: Colegiales, Buenos Aires, Argentina

PH Freire / Ignacio Szulman arquitecto. Image © Francisco Nocito
PH Freire / Ignacio Szulman arquitecto. Image © Francisco Nocito
PH Freire / Ignacio Szulman arquitecto. Image
PH Freire / Ignacio Szulman arquitecto. Image

LRC House / BDB Arquitectos

  • Year: 2017
  • Location: San Isidro, Buenos Aires, Argentina

LRC House / BDB Arquitectos. Image © Santiago Donovan
LRC House / BDB Arquitectos. Image © Santiago Donovan
LRC House / BDB Arquitectos. Image
LRC House / BDB Arquitectos. Image

House 47 / Reimers Risso Arquitectura

  • Year: 2016
  • Location: La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina

House 47 / Reimers Risso Arquitectura. Image © Fernando Schapochnik
House 47 / Reimers Risso Arquitectura. Image © Fernando Schapochnik
House 47 / Reimers Risso Arquitectura. Image
House 47 / Reimers Risso Arquitectura. Image

IA House / alarciaferrer arquitectos

  • Year: 2015
  • Location: La Calera, Cordoba, Argentina

IA House / alarciaferrer arquitectos. Image © Emilia Sierra Guzman
IA House / alarciaferrer arquitectos. Image © Emilia Sierra Guzman
IA House / alarciaferrer arquitectos. Image
IA House / alarciaferrer arquitectos. Image

House in Beccar / Film Obras de Arquitectura

  • Year: 2015
  • Location: Beccar, Buenos Aires, Argentina

© Emilia Sierra Guzman
© Emilia Sierra Guzman
House in Beccar / Film Obras de Arquitectura. Image
House in Beccar / Film Obras de Arquitectura. Image

Estancia Q2 House / Andrés Alonso

  • Year: 2014
  • Location: Mendiolaza, Cordoba, Argentina

Estancia Q2 House / Andrés Alonso. Image © Gonzalo Viramonte
Estancia Q2 House / Andrés Alonso. Image © Gonzalo Viramonte
Estancia Q2 House / Andrés Alonso. Image
Estancia Q2 House / Andrés Alonso. Image

Pedroso House / BAK Arquitectos

  • Year: 2012
  • Location: Mar Azul, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Pedroso House / BAK Arquitectos. Image © Gustavo Sosa Pinilla
Pedroso House / BAK Arquitectos. Image © Gustavo Sosa Pinilla
Pedroso House / BAK Architects. Image
Pedroso House / BAK Architects. Image

BB House / BAK Arquitectos

  • Year: 2011
  • Location: Mar Azul, Buenos Aires, Argentina

BB House / BAK Arquitectos. Image © Gustavo Sosa Pinilla
BB House / BAK Arquitectos. Image © Gustavo Sosa Pinilla
BB House / BAK Arquitectos. Image
BB House / BAK Arquitectos. Image

*It's necessary, when designing both private and public projects, to take into consideration the needs of handicapped and elderly individuals. Check out more of our articles on Universal Design and Accessibility.

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About this author
Cite: Maiztegui, Belén. "Split-Level Argentine Houses: Using Height to Separate Spaces" [Desniveles en casas argentinas: Separar espacios mediante diferencias de altura] 09 Mar 2021. ArchDaily. (Trans. Johnson, Maggie) Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/958089/split-level-argentine-houses-using-height-to-separate-spaces> ISSN 0719-8884

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