Roca Fuerte is a minimalist, rocky retreat in Uruguay

With Roca Fuerte, EMMA Arquitectos opens its scorecard in Uruguay with a solid collaboration with Estudio Obra Prima in Punta del Este

Roca Fuerte house exterior dusk
(Image credit: Fran Parente)

Roca Fuerte, a rock solid collaboration between Portuguese architecture studio EMMA Arquitectos and Estudio Obra Prima, has added minimalist architecture and further international allure to the exclusive Uruguayan golf resort Fasano Las Piedras in Punta del Este.

The home — which marks the Uruguayan debut of EMMA Arquitectos — joins other modernist-inspired designs by Isay Weinfeld and the project’s go–to architectural practice, Estudio Obra Prima, at the sophisticated enclave for a glittering, globe-trotting crowd.

Roca Fuerte exterior detail stone wall

(Image credit: Fran Parente)

Roca Fuerte: a minimalist home celebrating stone

The stylish stronghold is the 26th private residence to be added to the sprawling 480 hectare estate being developed by high-end Brazilian hotelier, Fasano and its parent company, luxury real estate developer, JHSF.

Mariana Matarazzo, partner at EMMA Arquitectos’ Sao Paulo office says that providing the rugged, holiday home with equal quantities of privacy, inside and outside space and natural light was the biggest challenge in choosing how best to orientate the house.

Roca Fuerte exterior courtyard

(Image credit: Fran Parente)

The house’s exterior, fortress-like features – including an imposing wall carved from local sandstone that stretches 40 meters – give little idea of the delightful, sweeping interior patio concealed inside.

'The circular patio, besides its beauty, directly responds to a site constraint: view versus solar orientation,' says Matarazzo. 'We have a fantastic view to the south overlooking the lake, but the sun comes from the north. Our intention was to create a privileged room with a view yet open a large patio that brings sunlight into the house while maintaining a private interior life shielded from neighbouring lots.'

Roca Fuerte stone wall exterior

(Image credit: Fran Parente)

With a 21m diameter, the circular centerpiece draws light into the house leaving visitors with the sense of a solid structure that shifts like a sundial shaped by the starkly contrasting seasons of the chic seaside retreat. Three ash trees planted in the patio dance with the southern hemisphere sunshine serving up clues to the time.

Roca Fuerte inside looking out towards courtyard

(Image credit: Fran Parente)

Flowing into the patio are five ground level bedrooms and a rustic living room and dining area equipped with an open hearth with cast iron chimney to fend off the chill of cold, winter evenings.

Roca Fuerte interior

(Image credit: Fran Parente)

Estudio Obra Prima’s lead architect Carolina Proto oversaw the house’s construction and was charged with carving the interior spaces from the sturdy, rock structure. 

Roca Fuerte living space interior

(Image credit: Fran Parente)

In the common areas, Proto left the thick sandstone walls exposed but introduced wood paneling, linen and wool to soften the interiors of the bedrooms, closets and bathrooms in keeping with the tone set by other properties on the estate.

Brazilian contemporary furniture by Sergio Rordrigues provides the home’s Brazilian owners with cozy, home-from-home furnishings throughout.

Roca Fuerte bedroom

(Image credit: Fran Parente)

Originally hailing from the UK, Rainbow Blue Nelson first landed in Colombia in search of Tintinesque adventures in 1996. Subsequent forays from his Caribbean base in Cartagena have thrown up a book about Pablo Escobar, and the Wallpaper* City Guides for Santiago, Brasilia, Bogota and Miami. Currently completing a second book about Colombia whilst re-wilding 50 hectares of tropical rainforest on the country's Caribbean coast, he’s interviewed some of South America's most influential figures in art, design and architecture for Wallpaper* and other international publications.