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2016 MCHAP

Once Upon a Time

Jose Roberto Paredes

San Salvador, El Salvador

April 2015


Jose Roberto Paredes


Andrea Hasbun (Junior Architect ) David Floristan (Junior Architect )


Jose Murcia


Jason Bax


The house was intended from the very begging to have as little impact as possible on the existing trees and condition. Program Directives were to provide a large and flexible social area that enabled engagement to the exterior spaces and nature. An even opening up and taking advantage of the street. Rooms were to be well ventilated but very private. Material and construction methods were selected in order to maintain Maintenance costs to a minimum and even embrace the aging of the home.


The “Home in the woods” on the Slopes of the San Salvador Volcano reflects the sense of wonder and joy of a young family. The design for the home grew out the desire of the clients to have an outdoor social life while maintaining a certain privacy in the more intimate areas. The house is located and oriented in the lot in order to make use of the north /south cross winds, to reduce eastern and western exposure and to take “shelter” beneath the shade of trees adjacent to the perimeter. The Irregular geometry of the plan responds to the location of preexisting trees on the site, the desire to maximize the perimeter of the house to blurring the boundary to the surrounding nature, and the creation of view lines between the spaces on a very transparent first level. The Center of the home, The Kitchen, Has immediate connection to the terrace of the house direct access to the second level master bedroom through a spiral stair way and an ample view of the social areas and a small window oriented to the entrance of the house. The second level is composed of 4 very solid brick modules connected by a reinterpretation of a hanging bridge meandering through the trees.


The project was built in a private development that used to be coffee plantations 20 years ago, where only ten of the one hundred lots developed were left un-built. So this was a still a little piece of the natural coffee plantation environment left. The owners wanted to be a part of this in contrast to the built environment around it, and experiment an outdoor “vacation“ feeling, within the comforts of the city. We designed a house that swiveled around the trees, respecting the natural environment, and opening itself to its surroundings. It created an invitation to share, opening the gardens in contrast to the walls that surround the existing houses, an invitation to engage in community building in the tree houses amongst the woods. The main areas to be used were the bar, and the kitchen, a space for husband and wife to share and communicate, and in between, their friends and family. So to the opposite ends of the social areas, these two spaces were designed, and connected by an outdoor deck, and indoor living area that opens up to this deck. The owners are a couple that entertain constantly, and the space is normally filled with groups of friends during the weekends, under the shades of the trees, and in constant contact with nature. The rooms, designed to meet the resting needs, nest the family members amongst the treetops. The main bathroom, a personal spa, has views to the city lights and the mountains were the sunset.

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