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BAK Arquitectos | Mapuche House

Architecture 01

‘Mapuche Country Club’ does not come to be a new born ‘country’ (condominium). Therefore, its lush vegetation, which has grown throughout the years, has added such a value to the place that has led both our clients (and friends) and us to agree on the fact that that area was the right one. Among all the several lots we went around, we recommended them an area that was fronted by a row of conifers,   next to a bunch of fruit trees (unfortunately, the house was to be located here due to regulations),  almost in the middle of the place were two old blue cedar trees close to the dividing axis and, a well-situated swimming pool. The lot has a position that favours the house in many ways. On the one hand, since the back of the house is NW-oriented, it is sheltered from direct afternoon sunlight by its cedars. On the other hand, its SE front row of coniferous trees do let the place receive some sunshine. ‘This plot is fantastic’, we said.

Whenever we face a new job we consider it to be a new opportunity to search on both the theoretical and practical arena of Architecture. Under these circumstances (this client, this place, this functional needs and budget), it seemed to be quite appropriate to keep going deep into the topic related to the inclusion of small courtyards into the plan as we had already done in a previous work in which we had got a very interesting result because the courtyards add up to the adjoining premises providing it with a sensation of greater space, a variable atmosphere because of the different effects of the light sneaking in through them and a view of the surrounding landscape from the different corners of the plan.

Accordingly, we suggested building a ground-floor house like a simple prism perforated by a small courtyard, with a flat surface that goes up into different  sectors of the plant to let the light in and emphasize the presence of the scenery. The cover continues into two lateral partition walls until it reaches the floor, separated 3 metres from the dividing axis with few perforations to avoid exposure to the neighbours. Both the front and back of the house alternate between lengths of glass and quebracho wood. At the front, the position of the open lengths were designed to keep hidden from the neighbours’eyes either because they are low behind the bushes or because they are high enough to peep in from outside. The quebracho, main protagonist both on the external and internal walls, also comes to be the raw material out of which the chimney, the grill, larders and worktops are made. Therefore, we can affirm the fact that this material was especially selected to contrast its rustic features with the pures, elemental and abstract lines that the rest of the house presents. This prism that lies on a 20cm-elevated lot, links to all the external sectors (swimming poll, solarium and parking area) and has some quebracho-made sleepers buried into the grassy ground.

The ground plan of the house of 14 m x 10.80 m is covered by a  reinforced concrete slab framed by beams over the roof level throughout its perimeter. The slab rests on a double wall made of perforated bricks in its SE lateral side, meanwhile in its NE lateral side, it rests on a concrete partition wall by means of some corbels that allow the partition wall and the roof to separate in order to not only let the zenithal light in but also to hide the ventlation pipes of both the chimney and the grill of the house. Right in the middle of the slab, some pillars of steel cross sections were arranged according to a modulation. These metal pillars that were projected  to present the finest section, aimed at the integration and ‘disappearance’ as they align with the black aluminium openings.

Specifically designed for this house, the furniture was made of Canadian pine wood.

Our way of dealing with openings in relation to the scenery and light.

The position and size of the openings in our works are more closely related to the framing of the landscape (either urban or natural) that is intended to be enhanced, rather than the typical role of element of composition that a facade is usually attributed to. Therefore, in order to attain this objective in this work, we studied in detail the areas through which not only  the light but also the scenery could sneak in. As a result, any observer who comes to be pacing up and down the house and gazes out the openings up or down, may get astonished to find either narrow slits or wide openings.

Location: ‘Mapuche Country Club’, in Pilar, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina
Architect: BAK Arquitectos | María Victoria Besonías,  Luciano Kruk
Colaborator: Sebastián Indri
Lot surface: 600 sqm
Building surface: 142 sqm
Status: Built in 2006
Photographers: Cora Surraco, Alfredo Herms

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