Location: El Centauro Country Club, Canning, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina
Design and Project Management: María Victoria Besonías, Luciano Kruk
Collaborator: Martin Saavedra
Land area: 847 sqm
Built area: 189 sqm
Construction year: 2008
María Victoria Besonías
It is a lot in a new country club, small, with young and sparse vegetation, where it is very difficult to avoid the feeling of building on a site that is not yet a place, so that the house had to be thought lacking of all the data provided by an already established neighborhood. The challenge of this commission was to design a house that had to start setting its own laws, pending the completeness that, as in any country club, encourages the proliferation of loose, formally autistic objects surrounded by gardens. An advantage of this inauspicious situation was found on the particular location of the lot: a corner with the longest façade towards the main distribution road of the country club, bordering another property with the same destination, appeared with optimal views towards its solid vegetation.
It was made by a childless couple that still had to share this house with the father of one of them and that, knowing our works in concrete, wanted a house inscribed on the same constructive and aesthetic logic and with a low budget. In the first meetings they brought interior images of several houses that interested them as references.
The house would be of permanent use and while it should be recognized as a single house should contain two independent housing units: one for the couple and their future children and the other to be used by the father. Entrances were required for each unit, an internal communication between them and enough functional flexibility so that future changes could be introduced to this situation of independence today indispensable. The clients also indicated us the need to solve the house on two floors to release most of the ground as possible, the rest were the usual needs in a suburban family house: double garage, swimming pool, covered grill, dining room with integrated kitchen, bathroom and closet in the main bedroom, another bathroom for general use and a small toilet that could also be used from the outside. Clients emphasized that the rooms should be closely linked to the outdoor from the use in those where appropriate, and from the visual in all cases.
Given the particularity of the site and described, we chose to put the house on two levels as we were suggested, but instead of stacking one on another, we resolved the different requirements in two volumes rotated 90 ° to each other, so as to achieve with this lag the partially covered necessary to resolve the two garages and grill sector and winning a generous terrace that communicate via a staircase to the outside providing more outdoor surface to use. At the junction of the volumes were resolved the stairs to upper floor and two entrances, so that the differentiated sectors that required the clients are located towards both sides of the vacuum generated by the higher volume With this arrangement is achieved integration between the garden and the back of field, so that when projected forestation grows will become the protagonist of the zero level, since much of the building rises above the pedestrian views. Finally, this construction in “L” determines the shape of the open space, so that the house is presented as an isolated object surrounded by a void that remains undetermined.
The Functional Organization
In the volume on the ground floor is located the “apartment” for the exclusive use of the father with access and expansion under the partially covered joined by means of sliding panels to a unique space that houses the gathering activities of the other “room unit” and which can be accessed also from the partially covered. This zone contains the living and dining room, the kitchen and a staircase which leads to the second floor and resolutely opens onto the courtyard looking for the best aspect. In the sector of dining room it also does towards the opposite side integrating the outdoors. To crown the volume, a staircase allows access to the upstairs terrace.
During the course of construction changed the family composition, so we had to adapt the project to this new situation and it was also necessary to enable the ground floor as a first stage so that the house may be inhabited before completion. Having thought all this volume as a flexible container made possible this operation, so father’s bedroom was transformed into temporary bedroom of the couple (later will become computer room and / or guest room) and the small living room is incorporated into the original main house by eliminating separate entrance. The upper floor volume is reached via a staircase that extends in a corridor illuminated by regular distribution of holes made in the concrete wall and from which you access the more quiet area of the house. First, the main bedroom with dressing room and private bath, determined as a space between two terraces with generous views and possibility to ventilate towards both the garden and inner courtyard, and connected with it through the solarium. Following the tour enters the shared bath and at the end of it, the second bedroom with views and ventilation into the courtyard, but also to the front through the horizontal window that runs along the facade and allows illuminate and ventilate the bathrooms and dressing room.
The Structural Solution
The whole house is resolved with partition walls and slabs of H º A ª. The rigidity of this system allowed us to resolve the important light between supports (9.20m) on which rests the higher volume. This operation was resolved differently on each of the sides. In facing the front with two major beams, one taking the top slab and the other inverted to take the bottom slab, a solution that allows an opening from one extreme to another without support. The opposite side was used a “partition beam” of the full height of the volume.
Based on the experience developed with the concrete houses of Mar Azul and since the client comes to our studio by this reference, we use the same construction system with the necessary adjustments to accommodate both to a new use (permanent housing, rather than summer House), the place (a suburban lot without preexistences, rather than a forest) and the budget available. H21 concrete was used with the addition of a fluidifiant so that this mixture, with little amount of water to harden, results very compact and doesn’t require sealing. Furthermore, the expressive quality of concrete and its resistance and impermeability, made superfluous any type of surface finish. It achieves a low cost of execution at finishing and needless future maintenance, since the finishing of the inner and outer concrete was only a manual hand sanding to remove the execution adherences. The adaptations of the building system used on the coast were intended to improve the thermal insulation as the house in summer would be under the intensity of sunlight without the protection of forest foliage and exposed to frosts during winter. So, underlayment was made on the slabs to improve this insulation and, on the terrace over ground floor, will be added a deck to enable its use as a solarium and, in turn, it will work as an umbrella improving the thermal conditions of the plan. While the available budget did not allow building the exterior walls of the entire building with a combination of concrete slabs plus brick walls for optimal thermal insulation, we selected those more complicated regarding to the orientation to use this solution and it also allowed cross ventilation in every room to improve the situation at least in summer. We also made a proposal for forestation with the same purpose. The low winter temperatures were controlled by reducing (in comparison to the constructions on the coast) the size of the openings and using double glass with air chamber. The heating is suggested by radiant floor because the floors are made of concrete screed and therefore good conductors of heat radiating pipes under it, and were provided air conditioning cold and heat to improve the thermal insulation when necessary. The few interior walls are plastered and painted bricks with white latex. Bathrooms feature enameled ceramic coating on the walls that are not of concrete. The floor cloths are also from concrete screed divided with aluminum plates. The meeting between walls and the floor was resolved with a recessed aluminum profile, as a base. The openings are of dark bronze anodized aluminum. The kitchen furniture was proposed lacquered in white.