2022

MCHAP

Damero Building

Francisco Cadau Oficina de Arquitectura

Campana, Argentina

January 2021

PRIMARY AUTHOR

Francisco Cadau

CONTRIBUTING AUTHOR

Patricio Cantlon, Victoria Della Chiesa, Andrés Milos, Andrea Lanziani, Federico Cione, Diego Valenzuela, Jorge Prieto

CLIENT

Caporal Desarrollos Residenciales S.A.

PHOTOGRAPHER

Gustavo Sosa Pinilla

OBJECTIVE

The building is structured in a double bay of apartments with terrace-like patios, which seize the sunlight from East and West orientations and the views towards the avenue and the center of the block.
The core, made up by an elevator and a linear staircase, which completes the organization of the building, is arranged on the North side of the perimeter, allowing a direct relationship between the common spaces and the outside.

The alternating repetition of dwellings and terraced patios organizes, on the front and back, a checkerboard -in Spanish “damero”- pattern of solids and openings that configure a recognizable texture on an urban scale.

On the other hand, a series of local operations facet the volume, initially prismatic, constituting the massive and carved character that identifies the building.
The facets index programmatic and contextual differences on the faces of the prism:
On the front and back faces, diagonally opposed slightly chamfered corners make room for the existing trees, softening the right angles of the volume.
On the North façade, the front half of the plane is oriented slightly towards the East, verticalizing the proportion of this face of the building.

Finally, in the upper part of the volume, the chamfered perimeter walls form a kind of mansard that resolves the roof railing, crowning the building against the sky.

CONTEXT

The lot in which the 20-unit multifamily housing program takes place is located near the city center on a parallel street to the North-South axis of Campana, an extended low-density urbanization located northeast of Buenos Aires, on the banks of the Paraná River within the undulating Pampa region.

The double-width lot opens in its front to the vast space of a sports field that enables direct and open views to and from the avenue.

The building is organized in a base which extends throughout the ground floor and a main body with five levels, concentrated on the front portion of the plot.
The base has two sectors: it arranges vehicular and pedestrian accesses on the front and organizes two levels of garages on the backside.

The main body is an exempt volume whose perimeter recedes in a variable way from the plot limits, therefore establishing different relationships with its context:
On the front an access garden preserves the existing pine, receding the volume from the municipal line and bringing it closer to the limits of the receded adjoining houses, mitigating its impact on a pedestrian scale. On the backside, a large patio recreates the conditions of urban space and allows the preservation of an old avocado tree. Finally, on the sides, the volume recedes slightly from the plot limits allowing natural lighting and ventilation of the building's circulations.

PERFORMANCE

The building embodies a housing densification model that, from a contemporary position, integrates and equalizes the demands of a rapidly growing city with the traditions and dynamics of its inhabitants' lives.
Through the repetition of terraced patios, the building brings back and updates, for the typology of high-rise housing, the typical forms of living of provincial cities where enjoying the outdoors is part of the lifestyle.

The exterior enclosure of the building is resolved through the reinterpretation of a local technology: exposed masonry.
The brick, widely and extensively diffused in the region, constitutes a technically reliable, economically affordable and environmentally sustainable solution. This material also enables, based on the organizational ductility of the rigging, the development of a wide spectrum of surface configurations applicable to different thermal, lighting and visual performances.

The envelope is organized on variations of the stretcher bond and transitions between the stretcher bond and the header bond, allowing a whole range of variable permeability and texture. This gradation enables a continuous passage between the solid blind wall, used as a simple enclosure, and the masonry with openwork and variable relief, used as brise-soleils or window shades. In this way, the different configurations and performances necessary for the building are integrated within a formal and materially continuous envelope.