Juan Caycho (Junior Architect), Henry Bazan / Higashi Ingenieros (Engineering), Julio César Santillán Baca (Builder)
Flavia Gandolfo and Ralph Bauer
Gonzalo Cáceres Dancuart, Flavia Gandolfo, Augusto Román
It all started with the clients’ request to build a new bedroom on the rooftop. After various meetings at their house and watching how they used the space, it became clear that what they needed was a larger flexible space where they could play, work and study while being near one another and distant enough so they did not feel crowded. Such a space was not possible on the first floor, partitioned by bearing walls, and so it was proposed on the second floor, where it would have better lighting and views. The first floor, already divided, would then be used for bathrooms, storage and bedrooms, increasing the latter in number and size.
Lightweight construction, and a sober choice of materials became a direct effect of the clients’ taste and the assigned budget.
Structural changes and masonry were kept to a minimum. On the first floor, a long enveloping line of plywood paneling and doors would take care of further subdivisions and storage partitions, as if it was a big new piece of temporary furniture. On the second floor a lightweight roof would be risen on steel industrial beams. A line of plywood doors could also be used here to hide many auxiliary spaces, such as a double desk with shelves, a laundry space with a well-ventilated sunlit drying area, a pantry, lightwells for the bathrooms downstairs and technical space.
A young couple with small children had bought a subdivided part of a house in a quiet street with towering trees near the historic center of Barranco district in Lima. They all lived on a first floor connected to the street through a stairway leading to the main entrance and a small patch of garden. Regulations allowed for one more floor. The existing structure of masonry bearing walls allowed for little modifications on the first floor and very lightweight additions on top.
Barranco was, in the late nineteenth century, a high society seaside retreat south of Lima, where people would go to relax and socialize. Today, it is part of the metropolis, but has retained some of its leisurely atmosphere from the past.
The first floor provides a place for retreat and calm for each family member, in bedrooms with higher-than-normal windows that do not overlook onto the street but rather towards the sky and the century old trees. Nevertheless, this floor is currently only used for sleeping, such is the success of the family space on the second floor, where they spend most of their time playing, drawing, working, eating, listening to music... In a tv-free family, life usually revolves around books, and quite literally in this case, where a long bookshelf holds real treasures at hand and virtually divides the whole space into two from a seating point of view. Two modular tables can be joined for larger social events or split to have separate work areas, while pivoting lamps accompany activity along the space. The second floor is wide open to the outside, extending the perception of space up to the surrounding trees and creating a veranda for bird-watching and neighbor-greeting. The whole area can become more private with curtains specifically designed to block the curious gaze of strangers while still allowing sunlight and the view of trees into the room.
The openness of the house is reminiscent of a beach house, bringing back the memory and atmosphere of old Barranco and helping reintegrate its neighbors through more direct contact and much needed ‘eyes on the street’.