Architects: Equipo de Arquitectura (Horacio Cherniavsky + Viviana Pozzoli) and José Cubilla
Collaborators: Yago García, Ignacio Lloret and Dahiana Núñez
Location: Asunción, Paraguay
Structural engineer: Enrique Granada + Emilio Richer
Photographs: Leonardo Mendez, Federico Cairoli, Lauro Rocha
Housing architecture reflects the way in which we understand our being-in-the-world and represents the conjunction of wishes, wills, emotions, and ideals. The imagination process in the construction of space is, at the same time, the most basic and the most complex exercise, understanding that the house is life’s actual scenario.
We decided to abandon housing’s typological palette, rejecting trending catalogs that imprison new ways of imagining the house as construction that must morph and transform according to life’s constant changes.
We didn’t conceive objects or forms as the project’s main concern; it is a consequence. The project is conceived as a system of places and relations regulated by a continuous space that entangles the natural with the built, the public with the private, interior with the exterior. The main concern belongs to a structural, and thus, spatial solution, that develops throughout the terrain.
The structural scheme consists of beams that configure a progressive sequence of spaces, stratified according to its function, resting in two points each, attempting to reduce the number of foundations and excavation in the terrain. The creation of long spans between pillars allows the transition between inside and outside, intertwining natural and artificial environments.
Cantilevers reduce the 12-meter beam bending moment. Ceramic vaults connect the perpendicular distance between these beams, endowing the interior with a particular spatial quality appropriate to Asuncion’s hot weather.
The house develops in only one level and extends along the terrain, intercalating a series of different programs and courtyards that allow the correct cross ventilation in every space. There is an equilibrium between full and empty where one strengthens the other. The inside, the full, the shadow is overturned towards the empty, the outside, the light, contemplating and enjoying the natural world.
Although there is an irreversible longing to catalog some criteria into trends, styles, and isms, the bioclimatic strategies adopted in this project respond to the necessity of their use. Green roofs, cross ventilation, rainwater storage, and solar protection are all appropriate techniques to implement in a city like Asunción.
The roofs act like courtyards, both as thermal insulation and vegetation area, building a succession of courtyards in different heights, each responding to a different situation.
Architecture, even though static, gets old and transmutes, just as a living being, impregnating the passing of time in materials. This is the reason why we chose to strip the building of coatings, abandoning ornaments and superfluous makeup, that generally hides materials’ own essence.