An Argentinean studio makes the most of a complex space thanks to an unusual roof

Buenos Aires – Can you tell us about the project?
CONSTANZA CHIOZZA: We were actually our own client. The renovation of the house we now live in triggered our professional partnership and the establishment of our firm. Programmatically speaking, we wanted a place where we could both live and work. We never intended to highlight the practical elements; we wanted to shape an environment with an integrated flow of light, natural ventilation and green areas. Over time, the project will be able to accommodate fluctuations in function, eventually becoming more house than office – or more office than house.

What was the condition of the house before you started the project?
PEDRO MAGNASCO: The building had fallen into disrepair as a consequence of various interventions carried out since its original construction in 1948. Fortunately, it had a strong concrete foundation and didn’t need much structural work. We had to replace the roof, however, and the interior space was badly fragmented.

Once we could see a precise order for the layout, we were understanding how to cover the whole infrastructure with a continuous envelope

Please explain the unusual shape of the roof you designed?
CHIOZZA: The project coexists in a highly dense area of low-rise, mid-century townhouses that are being converted into high-rise buildings. Our house resists the surrounding development but participates in urbanization by extrapolating the rhythm of the existing building. We used 3D modelling in an attempt to tackle the seemingly disordered organization of the interior. Once we could see a precise order for the layout, we were on our way to understanding how to cover the whole infrastructure with a continuous envelope. The white corrugated-metal roof, with its sculptural angles, coincides with the specific internal programming of our house.

How did you address the compact floor area?
MAGNASCO: That was quite a challenge. We looked for ways in which to create vertical continuity throughout the different areas of the house – for example, with the recurrent use of chipboard flooring – to make the closed, claustrophobic spaces come to life. The relationship between the new roof and the removal of certain existing walls resulted in open, light-filled spaces.

This piece was originally featured on Mark 70.

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