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Project: Bariloche House

Location: Bariloche, Rio Negro, Argentina

Size: 430 m2

Status: Built

Partners: Juan Ignacio Ramos

This house is located in Patagonia, on the slope of Cerro Otto, in front of Lake Gutiérrez. The project was particularly special since the client was Juan Ignacio’s brother. He and his wife desired to build a vacation home in Bariloche for their family. Even though they initially had a more conservative idea of the house that they wanted, we were given absolute freedom to propose a different approach.


The site was stunning, we were struck by the majesty of the mountains and the beauty of the lake and the forest. From the beginning, we realized that our design had to establish a very careful and respectful relationship with nature.


We struggled with the thought of having to intervene the unspoiled forest to build the house. To mitigate this conflict, we came up with the idea of a planted roof. To some extent, this was a way of giving back the life that was destroyed by the footprint of the building. At the beginning, it was planted with native grasses to fixate the soil. As time went by, the roof was naturally seeded by the surrounding vegetation making it look like the forest floor. The green roof provides technical benefits such as better insulation, keeping the house warm in winter and cool during the summer. It also provides aesthetic benefits, blending with the site. But probably, the most important thing for us was simply to make an environmental statement.


The section of the house mirrors the slope of the mountain. The building grows into a two-storey structure as it moves towards the lake. The distribution is very simple: living spaces and guest room on the ground floor and bedrooms and den on the second. The living room and the den are connected through a double height. All the main rooms face the lake, granting uninterrupted views of the water and the mountains. Spacious outdoor terraces and a wood deck were designed as an extension of the living spaces for the summer.


The structure was built with reinforced concrete and the walls with ceramic blocks. Wood beams and rafters were used for the roof. The materials for the finishes were carefully chosen for their aesthetic value and their low maintenance. The walls were covered on the outside with a local pine siding and on the inside with cedar boards. Local stone was used to build the fireplaces and the retaining walls.

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