This low, concrete family home in Argentina’s San Carlos may appear unassuming, but upon closer inspection, its intricate floorplan and strong relationship with nature says otherwise.

A joint venture between two Buenos Aires firms – Marcelo Del Torto and Torrado Arquitectos – the house faithfully follows the clients’ brief. The owners, a family of four, were after a modern and relaxed home with plenty of outdoor space. The team duly obliged, and went on to envision the 350 sq m property with an impressive open plan layout, dotted with courtyards.

The architects’ first challenge was to place the structure appropriately on its woodland plot, dividing the interior program into two perpendicular volumes; one of them houses the public areas, and the second contains bedrooms for both children and adults, bathrooms and a playroom. 

Take an interactive tour of Casa San Carlos

The team wanted to preserve the several ancient trees on site, which meant working the plan around the existing greenery to design the interior flow in direct response to the surrounding nature. So, when the design encountered a tree, an opening was created to accommodate it.

For example, the large central courtyard that borders the open plan living, dining, family room and kitchen also hosts a large Ceiba tree. This tree also cleverly provides shelter from the elements when the owners use the nearby outdoor clay oven and grill. Similarly, another courtyard framing an Araucaria tree sits next to the master bedroom.

The home’s series of horizontal and vertical planes feature a soft and sophisticated material palette. Three main elements stand out: concrete, which was chosen for its ability to provide structural solutions for the building; San Juan stone, selected for its beauty and hardwearing qualities; and locally sourced Lapacho wood, a long lasting material that adds warmth to the minimalist interior.