The design process of the Pedroso house began in 2004 and was completed in 2012.
The holiday house is located on a small sized lot less than 100m² from the Mar Azul forest, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Designed in a simple style, this residential house has embraced the topography wherein it is situated.
The Architectural Firm: BAK Arquitectos
BAK Arquitectos were an Argentinian architectural firm that specialised in the design of small-scale, private buildings with the main emphasis on concrete as the building material.
They coined their unique style of multi-faceted building design where each elevation displays its peculiar composition.
However, they have now split into two separate firms: Luciana Kruk and Besonia Almeda.
With a track record of strong residential designs with functionality as their watchword, BAK Arquitectos were the ones laden with the task of designing the Pedroso house.
The commissioners of this project were a couple with an older child.
Their specifications for the brief were quite plain: two bedrooms, two baths, outdoor spaces and a storage area for the keeping of beach items.
The house was intended as a get-away building for summer holidays and occasional visits during the year.
Planning and Design Solutions
The main challenges that the topography presented during the design included that the longest side of the lot faced the main street. Also, there is a wide margin of about 2.5m between the highest and lowest elevations of the building.
In response to these problems, the building massing was a series of stacked boxes and formed an L-shaped plan. The stacked boxes concept was made more pronounced by the cantilevered projections on the elevations.
The solution to the first challenge was to position the building in such a way as to preserve the pine forest’s originality. Doing this made the longer elevation face parallel to the main road.
The difference in levels was bridged by stairs.
Three major architectural styles could be seen playing out in the Pedroso house.
The first is Functionalism. The building was designed in a functional way, one that fulfils the mandated purpose for which it was built.
Minimalism played out in the sense that there were no unnecessary embellishments or decorations used. Everything was done simplistically.
Brutalism is another style that was portrayed in the Pedroso house. The most abundant material used in the house design was exposed concrete. This gave the building a raw vibe that made it a more natural feel.
The major spaces in the Pedroso house are the common-use area that has an integrated kitchen.
The conveniences are only two and have minimal dimensions. one accesses the main level of the house saving a slope through a concrete staircase.
After crossing the front door threshold and a small entrance passageway, two sections of stairs lead up a half level — to one of the bedrooms and a shared bathroom — and a half level down.
Partially buried in the dune is the main bedroom with an area to be used as a desk and a bathroom, which is also shared. This room leads out to a courtyard and ascends using a stairway to the main floor terrace. From there is a transition to the highest wooded area of the lot.
The social area is directly open to this expansion with views through the kitchen into the woods. It remains protected from the street views by a low opening along the entire front.
Materials and Construction
The predominant materials employed for the Pedroso house construction were exposed concrete, glass, metal and dark pine wood.
The concrete was used, not only for the building facade and structural system of the building but also in the framing of most of the building furniture. Except for the queen-sized bed, armrest chairs and chairs, all the furniture is made of poured concrete.
The same predominant material was used in the other construction works in Mar Azul — concrete mixed with h21 fluidizer, a mixture with a low amount of water that when forged has a more compact composition.
Pedroso house was designed in a way that is environment-friendly and energy efficient. In allowing natural light and ventilation into the building, the pressure and cost of artificial lighting and ventilation are considerably reduced.
There are ceiling-to-floor openings that allow in natural light.
Since there is no natural gas in the area and the felling of trees to provide fuel for heating is out of the question, the heating of Pedroso’s house is solved by combining a salamander, bottled gas stoves and electric stoves.
Also, the efficiency of the building’s placement is evident in how the house interacts with its immediate surroundings. The construction did not tamper with the lofty pine trees that are abundant in the area. This gives a close-to-nature feel to the users of the building.
Pedroso house is a typical embodiment of a residential building that fulfils its purpose, both aesthetically, structurally and functionally.
Aguilar, C. (2014) Pedroso house / Bak Arquitectos, ArchDaily. ArchDaily. Available at: https://www.archdaily.com/475178/pedroso-house-maria-victoria-besonias-luciano-kruk (Accessed: November 6, 2022).
Pedroso House: Bak Arquitectos (no date) Archello. Available at: https://archello.com/project/pedroso-house (Accessed: November 6, 2022).
arquitectos, B.A. (2014) Bak Arquitectos constructs Pedroso House in a pine forest, designboom. Available at: https://www.designboom.com/architecture/bak-arquitectos-construct-pedroso-house-in-a-pine-forest/ (Accessed: November 6, 2022).