Estudio Galera carves out a concrete summer house in an Argentine forest

Casa Kuvasz exterior with pool
Casa Kuvasz was designed as a rental house for the summer and a house for the owners off-season.
(Image credit: Photography: Diego Medina)

It was the topography of the secluded plot, settled within a luscious manmade forest on the sloping dunes of Cariló, a coastal town south of Buenos Aires, which guided the design of Casa Kuvasz. On visiting the location for the first time, Ariel Galera, principal at Estudio Galera Arquitectura, agreed with the owners that the house should respect and accentuate the natural landscape.

By lifting the cool mass of the house off the ground with slim concrete ribs, echoing the surrounding vertical tree trunks and reducing the impact of the build, Galera opened up the main living area to natural light and the leafy landscape with an open facade of terrace space and glazing. A concrete corridor, wrapping around and inclining up the sloping dune to the house, connects the floating form to the forest terrain.

floor plan

(Image credit: Photography: Diego Medina)

Take an interactive tour of Casa Kuvasz

‘The access is in the lowest part of the lot and the vertical circulation accompanies the natural change of level,’ says Galera. ‘The upper floor functions as a "piano nobile" where almost all the programme unfolds. This floor touches the lot in a few spots while dominating the landscape in others.’

The enclosed concrete stair is perforated with circles, taking the inhabitants on a journey from the landscape and into the house. ‘The idea was that the stairs' sleeve first rejects the landscape, only to then empower it. This contributes to seeing architecture as a path and sequence of sensations,’ says Galera.

Casa Kuvasz exterior with trees

Conceptually, the architects see Kuvasz as ‘a path that accompanies and rises to the sand-dune, touching the lot in a few spots, respecting and highlighting the current topography’

(Image credit: Photography: Diego Medina)

‘The perforated circles on the concrete were designed to glimpse at the landscape at specific points, at the time that provides soft and changing lighting throughout the day.’ The architects studied the relationship of natural light to the location – ‘a permanent and interesting challenge due to its variable nature’, says Galera. ‘We believe that it is paramount to connect technology to phenomenology, the sensorial elements, especially when we are designing a house and not a public building. Thus, we set this as a challenge: to transform the architecture from being static into something dynamic.’

Continuing to play with framing, light and shadow, the architects extended the roof slab out over the terraces as an overhanging concrete pergola, while the lower concrete beam overhangs to form a bench and open up a gap exposing the land below.

Casa Kuvasz exterior surrounded by trees

The house is located in Cariló, a holiday resort in Pinamar County, south of Buenos Aires

(Image credit: Photography: Diego Medina)

living room with sofa

The living rooms on the upper level open up to the landscape with glazed walls

(Image credit: Photography: Diego Medina)

house with circular openings in the concrete corridor

The architects created circular openings in the concrete corridor which leads up to the house, placing them at different heights for children and adults

(Image credit: Photography: Diego Medina)

kitchen area with worktop

The interiors feature exposed concrete walls

(Image credit: Photography: Diego Medina)

outdoor sitting area with sofa

When designing, Galera and his team studied how sunlight would bounce across the openings of the house

(Image credit: Photography: Diego Medina)

grey dining table with chairs

The architects set themselves the challenge ‘to transform the architecture from being static into something dynamic’

(Image credit: Photography: Diego Medina)

Casa Kuvasz staircase

A concrete corridor wraps around the house

(Image credit: Photography: Diego Medina)

living area with hanging lights

The house is sensitive to the time and seasons due to its glazed facades

(Image credit: Photography: Diego Medina)

house exterior with outdoor pool

A swimming pool is sunk into the forest dune landscape

(Image credit: Photography: Diego Medina)

house exterior with house lighting

‘The path ends in the social programme, as a lookout resting on the crest of the dune,’ says Ariel Galera

(Image credit: Photography: Diego Medina)


For more information, visit the Estudio Galera website

Harriet Thorpe is a writer, journalist and editor covering architecture, design and culture, with particular interest in sustainability, 20th-century architecture and community. After studying History of Art at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and Journalism at City University in London, she developed her interest in architecture working at Wallpaper* magazine and today contributes to Wallpaper*, The World of Interiors and Icon magazine, amongst other titles. She is author of The Sustainable City (2022, Hoxton Mini Press), a book about sustainable architecture in London, and the Modern Cambridge Map (2023, Blue Crow Media), a map of 20th-century architecture in Cambridge, the city where she grew up.