Project: The house in La Pampa
Architect: Hernan Gastelu
Location: Casilda, Argentina
Photo by: Gustavo Frittegotto
The house in La Pampa by Hernan Gastelu
Hernan Gastelu has completed the design of a house in La Pampa in the city of Casilda, Argentina. The modern exterior and minimalist interior design of this house do not stray too far from the traditional layout although the purpose of the design is to overcome the reform and expansion of prefab houses.
The project is located in Argentina Pampa, a flat area, in a city where the order of squares and planned uniformity is disrupted by the diversity of buildings.
This house discusses the reform and expansion of prefabricated houses, California style, with high-pitched roofs, and between party walls. The three ideas are:
- To make use of parts of existing homes
- To maintain layout and circulation (functional criteria)
- Sloping roof (formal criteria).
This project emerged from the preservation of home footprints, replacing weak walls by others who were able to support the second floor which arose from stretching curved roofs, creating living space, with flexible and integrated uses into the house.
The official result of this operation is the archetype home. The abstract volume is in the form of a vertical rectangle whose upper part is cut into two inclined planes. The volume is released from the party wall and brought forward to emphasize geometry, bringing the facade to the sidewalk and backward side walls, which cover the party walls and take on the height of the neighbors.
The house was built in a low-income neighborhood. The second floor causes a peak in the city facade and because of its height and geometry it contrasts with the context.
This contrast is also repeated in the same project. While the exterior is considered to have a rough character due to imperfections of exposed concrete and bricks, the interior feels smooth, manifested by pure and smooth lines of painted white plaster and the warmth of wood.
The ground floor is defined as preserving the program, circulation, access and relationship space, similar to the original house so that those who inhabit again know their home, make only minor changes to better redistribute the surface and find that each room has natural light and ventilation.
The upper level is more free, not divided and integrated with the ground floor through a double height with stairs and a bridge to exit to the terrace.
The exterior walls are built very thickly, giving depth and accentuating openings, while niches are made to place built-in cabinets. The volume-piercing window has a square matrix, and at their width one can sit and read, drink, or look outside. They are clear and decisive elements.
Home design arises from the desire to respond to constraints posed by the project, and formal and functional decisions have been taken to respond to these constraints. The house will always contrast with the context, but the inhabitants will continue to recognize it at every step.