Rodríguez House, a gated community, is located in La Esperanza, Argentina, halfway between Pilar and General Rodríguez. This rural urbanization’s great lots are surrounded by polo clubs. Its streets, made out of compact calcrete and crushed stone, are configured in accordance with the area’s longstanding woods.
This commission was made by a young couple with no kids who wanted to build their permanent residence. They asked for a house with a pure external image and an uncomplicated inner distribution. A single floor needed to accommodate a master suite and a second bedroom sharing a bathroom with a completely integrated social area. They also requested a project with potential for a future growth in case they want to add a third bedroom.
They wanted a spacious gallery with a swimming pool that would allow them to be in close touch with nature. . After taking a look at other houses built by our studio, they manifested their attraction to reflecting pools and patios, and they came up with the idea to incorporate those into their project.
The house was designed
as a pure volume. Taking into account regulatory setbacks and keeping in mind a
future expansion, the built area took up the lot’s whole width. A platform made
out of concrete allows one to walk over a reflecting pool and reach a
semi-covered reception hall. Right across the door, the first thing that comes
into sight is a leafy inner patio just behind a glass panel. This patio arouses
the senses as it allows views that go to the back of the lot.
The path that connects
the entrance, this patio and the pool in the backyard intercepts the one
created by the spaces within the house, which helps organize the house around
two axes. Facing north, the main areas open up –through the gallery- to the
exterior space, whereas service areas aligned become part of the façade. At the
same time, the inner patio establishes a border between the private and social
areas of the house.
With regards to the
limits of the built volume, the front, the back and the sides were treated
differently, thus creating three separate systems.
The main facade’s most noticeable characteristic is its system of lapacho wooden planks that hang vertically all along the front. Behind this latticework, a system of short hanging walls in combination with translucent glass configure the inner skin of the wet spaces. The plank system helps harmonize these openings and closures, creating a rhythm and an organization that allows looking out from the interior without being seen from the street.
As these planks fail to
reach the floor, a short black flagstone wall rises. Its darkness makes it look
further away, which in turn makes the planks pop up from the wall, and the
whole structure appears to be floating. The facade itself was intended to
appear to be floating, hanging above the water.
Unlike the front skin,
the back of the house is completely made of transparent glass. The openness
with which its joinery is designed from floor to ceiling allows for a complete
integration between the inside and the outside. The semi-covered gallery serves
as a transition towards the backyard and shelters the inside from direct
The lighting intensifies the building’s horizontality. Inside, two sets of rails hang from the ceiling from side to side both on the front and at the back. Also, a row of built-in lights is set along the gallery’s ceiling and floor.
The ceiling is a traditional flat roof system: a light sloped base-floor over the slabs, concrete bed and membrane.
The structure of the house is organized around a concrete load-bearing walls system that interacts with inverted t-beams, which reach the height of the loads and hide the system from view.
Inside, the exhibited slabs function as ceilings. The exposed concrete surfaces reflect their handmade quality. While on the walls we used horizontal pine planks, you can still notice the places where the phenolic plates touched each other on the ceiling. On the one hand, the austere exposed concrete guarantees the building’s continuity in time. On the other, the material composition aims at becoming one with the rural environment where the house is located. The simplicity of the functional organization, perceivable on the floor-plan, comes into reality on the morphology that contains it: a big tunnel made of mainly horizontal edges.