Open house: an unassuming Argentinian family home communes with nature

This house in Argentina’s San Carlos was designed for a family of four
This house in Argentina’s San Carlos was designed for a family of four, as a joint venture by architecture firms Marcelo Del Torto and Torrado Arquitectos
(Image credit: Fernando Schapochnik)

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. 

Interactive to of Casa San Carlos

(Image credit: Fernando Schapochnik)

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.

Property is an epitome of open plan living

Located in the furthest corner of a gated community, the 350 sq m property is an epitome of open plan living

(Image credit: Fernando Schapochnik)

Outdoor spaces

The clients’ brief outlined a modern home that would be relaxing and feature numerous outdoor spaces

(Image credit: Fernando Schapochnik)

Open living space

A key challenge for the architects was deciding how to place the property without removing the mature trees on site

(Image credit: Fernando Schapochnik)

Creating openings when they encountered greenery

Their solution was to use the trees’ position to define the layout, creating openings when they encountered greenery

(Image credit: Fernando Schapochnik)

The home contains several courtyards

The result? The home contains several courtyards and openings inbetween the living spaces

(Image credit: Fernando Schapochnik)

The interior is divided into two perpendicular volumes

The interior is divided into two perpendicular volumes; one containing the living, dining and kitchen areas, and another housing the children’s bedrooms, master bedroom and bathroom

(Image credit: Fernando Schapochnik)

A image of curtains and window

Concrete was a key construction material, chosen for its durability as well as the structural possibilities it offers

(Image credit: Fernando Schapochnik)

Locally sourced Lapacho wood was also used in kitchen area

Locally sourced Lapacho wood was also used in parts of the house, such as the kitchen area

(Image credit: Fernando Schapochnik)

For more information, visit the Marcelo Del Torto website or the Torrado Arquitectos website