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The House of the 7 Patios, Funes, Santa Fe, Argentina by Arquitectura Spinetta

Project name:
La casa de los 7 patios (The House of the 7 Patios)
Architecture firm:
Arquitectura Spinetta
Funes, Santa Fe, Argentina
Ramiro Sosa
Principal architect:
Melina Spinetta
Design team:
Graphic: Camila Barrera
Interior design:
Built area:
440,40 m²
Site area:
1,772 m²
Design year:
Completion year:
2019 - 2023
Civil engineer:
Structural engineer:
Omar Morris
Environmental & MEP:
Carolina Mosconi, Sebastián Ferlini
Tools used:
Sebastián Villagra
Brick, concrete, glass, wood, stone
Residential › House

Arquitectura Spinetta: “The House of the 7 Patios” is located on a large plot of land in Funes, a town near Rosario that has experienced accelerated growth in recent years and is characterized by large plots of land with vegetation and low population density.

The project had the complexity of being built over 4 years in 3 stages, going through a global pandemic, with a family living in the existing house located in the same location as the new project. In each phase, the existence of a program of living needs had to be guaranteed, also ensuring a friendly link between the construction of the new house and daily life to guarantee good family coexistence.

The lot has the particularity of being located in front of the Rosario airport runway and the train tracks, which presents a constant circulation of trains and planes that seduce and attract attention. Both preexistences present a strong horizontality as elements of the environment and it was a decision to make them and enhance them in the project through visuals. There were also reasons of a sentimental nature because that place contained the grandparents' house, a family meeting place for childhood and summer, closely linked to model airplanes and fans of manufacturing airplanes out of balsa wood, so the presence of the airplanes in daily life and the enjoyment of watching them pass by, would be a strong family legacy to keep in mind in the project.

The house is placed on the land horizontally and extended throughout its width. In the project, built spaces are interspersed with a total of 7 patios with vegetation. The most private environments are housed in opaque volumes covered in red brick located at the two ends of the lot towards the party walls, and between them, the social meeting spaces openly open to the landscape. The program takes place almost entirely on the ground floor, only the work desk is located on the upper floor for greater privacy.

It was decided to incorporate as the basis of the project the possibility of having both views: an introspective one that the patios allow to protect privacy, and another vast and wide view of the landscape through the large glass surfaces that overlook the galleries. This duality is strengthened by the balance between both: the most closed for moments of rest and privacy coexisting with the open and transparent in spaces prepared to host different family activities for social gatherings.

The living, dining, kitchen and barbecue areas are housed in a large continuous space that at the same time allows it to be subdivided for simultaneous use. Generous dimensions, openings at different heights that allow light to enter from different angles and the design of beams and slabs that go down and up, give it dynamism and spatial richness. From inside them it is possible to broaden the view in the perception of the landscape: the airport runway, airplane landing, the passing train, the garden and the trees in the center of the block. It is the exterior that is internalized and is part of living in the house. This transition between interior and exterior has a sensory thickness as it is mediated by patios with vegetation, eaves, galleries, blinds and mobile curtains, which as filters and climate conditioning allow unique spatial experiences where the senses and emotions are at play. The enclosures of the galleries consist of lifting curtains (open like bars or blind in garages) and metal blinds rescued from demolitions, designed with a folding-sliding system that allows total closure for safety or opening to enjoy the surroundings.

Regarding the materiality of the project, a system of exposed concrete slabs, partitions and beams is arranged, generating different horizontal planes with displacement of some slabs and interruptions of openings for patios, causing upper openings for the entry of light/sun and double heights. . The concrete slab at the 2.70m level seems to be resting on the red walls that hide inside the calibration of columns of the supporting structure. These walls are materialized with four layers: double hollow brick with an air chamber in the middle that are then covered on both sides by seamless brick tambourine walls. Noble materials are used such as common bricks and exposed concrete, which require low maintenance and dignified long-term aging.

The patios - according to J.L. Borges “those channeled skies” - introduce the levels of privacy required for each sector of the house. They allow sunlight and ventilation to enter all rooms through the design of eaves and orientation of openings, so that it is possible to adjust the needs according to the seasons of the year. At the same time they solve the issue of security: the metal enclosures at the top do not interrupt the view of the vegetation at eye level.

Each of the patios has a particular design that gives it its own identity. The South Patio covers the privacy of the adult bedroom and is a microclimate for hummingbirds, bumblebees and butterflies that search for guaranitic sage and milkweed. The Side Patio aims to be tropical with the rainwater collected by the gargoyle and its variety of palm trees and papyrus.

The North Patio that frames the children's bedrooms, takes advantage of the long flowering of the plumbago jasmine that is interwoven with the screened brick wall, to protect the necessary privacy from the street. It has northern sun entering in winter that the eaves prevent in summer. The two Central Patios on both sides of the living room have vegetation based on pampas grasslands and native vines that climb and hang, forming a space with dense vegetation. They are species collected from the surrounding ecosystem that together generate habitat continuity into domestic gardens and will provide shelter and food for insects, invertebrates, birds and small animals.

The bioclimatic strategies adopted respond to the need to promote certain sustainable practices such as cross ventilation, eaves for protection from the sun in summer, double walls and DVH glass for thermal insulation, rainwater collection for irrigation, solar hot water tank for hot water, vegetation native vegetation in the patios as an extension of the biological corridors, separation of waste for recycling and assembly of compost on the ground.

The unity of this work is presented with the presence of light in all environments. In winter the sun is clear as a blanket. In summer the luminosity of the day without the suffocating lightning. A set of patios, a game of heights, windows and eaves so that only what is desired passes through each season. A succession of microcosms that allow the house to be inhabited by stopping the passage, through sensory experiences of apprehension of the environment.

The movement in space-time is enriched through the sounds and smells, textures and temperature of the materials, the wind in the plants, the light that enters filtered by the vegetation or forceful through the openings, hummingbirds and butterflies that surprise, the colors that accompany the seasons of the year, everything is assembled in the different scenarios that consolidate the internal universe of the house and its inhabitants. Architecture is presented as a device through which exchanges between climate, nature and people can be regulated, inviting us to participate in the daily construction of a domestic scenario committed to the environment it inhabits.

By Liliana Alvarez

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