House in Rocha
Diego Arraigada Arquitectos
Rural Area, Uruguay
Diego Arraigada, Juliana Esposito
Sofia Rothman, Lucrecia Rossi, Francisco Falabella, Luciano Navarini, Federico Sei, Clara Paz, Martin Rajchman, Gustavo Traverso
The clients shared from the onset a recollection of objects, poetries, recordings and drawings that translated into a collaborative process of design. They wanted a home where a sense of intimacy and detachedness could coexist with the enjoyment of the vast landscape around.
The volume of the house is entered through a vertical fissure in the frontal face of the mass.
Once this narrow strait is crossed the space expands again and the user finds himself in a new clear, which is artificial but with a soft and organic shape, and covered in white wood. From it, every reference to the exterior landscape disappears except for the sky. This negative space is a displaced interior courtyard, an access void that must be crossed in order to enter the interior spaces of the house and acts as a transition between nature and domesticity.
Towards the south of a coastal town in Rocha (Uruguay), the area next to the ocean is characterized by wide erosion gullies which are a product of the drainage of the water from the continent towards the sea. All the area is also covered by dense vegetation, mainly consisting of medium height acacias. The plot is accessible through a green narrow path which suddenly opens up to a clear, surrounded by the vegetation. This open space is limited towards the ocean by a big and gentle gully. Thanks to this natural depression the ocean is perceived in the far horizon, above the foliage.
A square volume occupies the center of the open space and its height doesn´t go beyond the height of the surrounding vegetation. It´s orthogonal condition and the harshness of the concrete establishes a contrast with the organic and soft condition of the natural clear where it is placed. The whole mass is rotated towards the gully and the ocean beyond.
From the inside, the void of the courtyard becomes a positive element that organizes around it a continuous circulation connecting all the domestic functions. Its curved wall establishes a contrast with the straight interior perimeter. This plane was materialized with cut out wooden slabs and it is a source of filtered light for center of the plan.
Additionally - thanks to apertures on its sides - the different areas of the house can be connected through the courtyard, generating a cross ventilation that regulates the climate, as well as allowing the courtyard to be used as an intimate expansion of the interior spaces.
In the perimeter of the house, different apertures connect with the exterior according to their function and context. Towards the gully, the aperture occupies the whole length of the façade and the glass is set back to generate a veranda for the living areas. The long beam that spans the width of the veranda adopts a curved bottom profile that works along with its momentum and deformation diagram. At the same time this generates a particular framing of the landscape that emphasizes the tension between the horizon and the lintel in its central point. This is repeated in the rest of the apertures of the perimeter, like a subtle reference to the fluid condition of the fresh concrete.
A helical stair in the veranda gives access to a roof garden with indigenous vegetation that grows on top the house. From this new height the surrounding landscape is rediscovered.