Fernanda Torres, Carolina Fainstein
Javier Agustin Rojas
The final program is the result of a combination of factors: the aim to provide the best possible city-dwelling for urban denizens through a hybrid typology “apartment with garden”, plus the commercial exploitation of the old planning code. Both objectives become aligned in this project.
The old planning code of Buenos Aires was governed by the FOT: the land occupation factor. This established the maximum amount of sellable area in relation to the size of the plot and determined the value of the land. But exterior areas did not factor in this calculation, turning these high-quality spaces into very profitable parts of the building: not only cheaper to build but literally free in terms of FOT.
By receding each floor and creating exterior surfaces the project not only incorporates quality of life for its inhabitants but also additional sellable areas that had not been computed when appraising the land. Both, the developer and the end-users benefit, in terms of quality and profitability. More and better sellable spaces.
From inception, this type of architecture promotes a way of life in relation to the outdoors and Nature within the city. No need to use a car to escape on weekends, or to live far away in a gated community to have nature and safety.
The building was commissioned by a commercial developer with the mandate to deliver the most profitable combination of interior-exterior areas allowed by the planning code, combined with the highest possible quality of living, for a budget. It is placed on a 45m. deep plot with facades onto opposing sides of the block. The North side, the sunny one, overlooks a wide tree-lined boulevard. The South, a quiet residential street. The depth of the site allowed for the units to recede in a stack, generating large terraces for each of the seven units. The typology delivers an experience closer to a house than an apartment block. Each unit varies in size and layout but they all have long exterior perimeters and encourage outdoor living with an assortment of open spaces for various uses: semi-covered private access patios, porches enveloped by plants, balconies with lawns or even a tree, and Jacuzzis surrounded by native vegetation. The lower level units have large patios while the upper ones have private green roofs. In addition, they were all tailored to each owner's needs. The project takes a page from the city's history, both in terms of typology and materials, with corrugated metal volumes (a nod to early 20th century immigrant homes and villas miseria) providing sheltered exteriors melded into the interiors. The sidewalls were designed in response to the adjoining buildings, generating a harmonious dialogue with the surroundings instead of the usual medianera, a windowless rampart so tipical of Buenos Aires.
The small scale of the building, plus its open exterior and carefully designed stairs provide a great place for neighbor daily encounters
The set back of the building permits direct sunlight even to the south (south hemisphere).So both sides of the building enjoy the great terraces.
Vertically, the exterior walls have double insulation: an exterior white sheet metal favors solar reflectance and an interior brick wall with an air chamber that allows air circulation in between.
On the horizontal plane, the flooring is vegetal: grass and creepers, providing an insulating cushion of earth of 10 cm. In addition, they delay the drainage of excess water to the rainwater network.
A pergola with vines creates a microclimate that controls the temperature in front of the glazed surfaces
The rainwater collected by the terraces is reused for cleaning and irrigation in common areas.