LUQUE – A hillside in Luque, a town in south-western Paraguay, has been hollowed to occupy two single-family homes which sit opposite each other, divided by a triangular pool.

Although architects Bauen cut into the landscape, the overall form resembles its original green aesthetic. The architects say it was important to create ‘traditional ways of living in harmony with the environment in Paraguay.’

The houses sit opposite each other, mixing with their landscape. Ground floor spaces are exposed to sunlight through a double-height curtain wall, allowing daylight to penetrate the public areas. Even further underground, the more private spaces (bedrooms and car parking) are hidden from view, appearing as part of the surrounding earthy mounds.

By setting the houses within the hillside, the properties of naturally insulative soil are used to create a constant internal temperature. Additional heat in the glazed areas is offset by the green overhanging roofs, which absorb daylight in some places and allow shade in others.

The materials used to construct the accommodation also resonate a natural vernacular. Inside, stone retaining walls are exposed, while large abstract door openings and wooden fixtures characterize a warm organic atmosphere. The structurally robust design contains slender steel columns, while concrete and stone walls allow it to withstand the limitations that can exist within underground construction.

Photos courtesy of Mónica Matiauda