Located in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Pedroso House by BAK Arquitectos is situated in the corner of dense Pine forest on a site that changes elevation 2.5m from its highest to its lowest point. The client’s brief to the architects was to create a summer home that included outdoor extensions with storage for beach items, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, an open floor plan for the social zones and an integrated kitchen – all this with minimal impact on the surrounding landscape.
Due to the topography of the land and the client’s wish to have minimal impact on it, the entry was located on a ground level volume that runs parallel with the street. This allowed the architects to displace as little vegetation as possible, keeping the integrity of the forest treeline. With the location of the building site determined, the next decision was how to maximize the space within the home while minimizing the footprint within the land. The architects chose to elevate the social volume for privacy from the road while at the same time placing each of the bedrooms a split-level up and down from the social zone.
The homeowners enter their home by climbing a small flight of four concrete stairs and once inside, they can continue up a half level to the upper bedroom and bathroom, they can go down a half flight of stairs to the main bedroom buried in the surrounding dune, or travel forward into the large open floor plan consisting of living, dining and kitchen areas.
The social zone of the home features large amount of glazings both towards the front and backyards. The front glazings are long and low, creating a sense of privacy while still allowing the homeowners to see all those arriving. The back glazings are large and expansive and open up to a split level deck. The glazings are framed with a dark bronze anodized aluminum,the walls and ceilings showcase exposed concrete construction, while the internal walls hide hollow brick that is plastered and then painted. The floors are concrete screed cloths divided by plates of aluminum and the heating system is comprised of several elements. With no natural gas in the locale, the homeowners rely on salamander, bottled gas stoves and electric stoves.
The outdoor decks feature enclosure beams and pine wood decking. The flat planes of the roof are supported by concrete reversed beams and are not actually flat but are sloped minimally to produce faster rainwater runoff. The concrete is mixed with h21 fluidizer, a mixture with low amount of water that when forged has a more compact composition.
The deck connected to the social volume leads both out to the forest beyond and down to a lower deck just outside the Master Bedroom. This lower deck is below grade and offers outdoor storage located below the social volume for easy storage of beach equipment.
The Master Bedroom features built in concrete shelving on the walls but has a traditional queen bed frame, unlike the other bedroom that has poured in place perforated concrete and cantilever slabs for the two beds within it. Most of the furnishings in the Pedroso House are poured in place concrete with the exception of the queen bed, armchairs, chairs and a few other furnishings.
Even the ensuite features a poured in place concrete vanity. With the room being located below grade, clerestory windows are used to allow the natural daylight to penetrate the room.
While there is an internal staircase to arrive back up at the social zone, the homeowners have a far more interesting – and possibly shorter – passage via the outdoor concrete stairwell that connects the two decks. Once on the upper deck access is presented through 4 large sliding glass panels that stack together for a wide open connection or close up allowing just enough room for a person to pass through. The homeowner can therefore easily access either the kitchen, dining or living spaces.
The dining area features a poured concrete table with a central pedestal as well as a concrete shelf above the table for incidentals. The built in shelf continues past the divider wall to become both a serving counter and a bar overhang to the kitchen counter below. The kitchen cabinets stop short of the wall, allowing the low span of window glazing to continue uninterrupted.
Most of the social zone contains long and linear lines following the length of the residence with the kitchen cabinetry, bar top and fireplace façade offering some of the few spans crossing the width of the home.
The kitchen cabinetry runs along the outside end wall of the Pedroso House with views towards the highest elevations within the site plan. These views also feature some of the pine trees that other architects or builders might have removed in the process of construction and it is only with the careful planning and forethought of BAK Arquitectos that the homeowners are lucky enough to have this bit of nature in such close proximity.
BAK Arquitectos took their client’s brief of creating a summer home with minimal disturbance to the surrounding Pine Forest and created for them a home that snuggles respectfully into the land. There is no sign of construction disturbance, only a hill that hugs the home and trees that preside over it.
Photography by Gustavo Sosa Pinills