Casa 81 by TAM Arquitectura

Casa 81 is a concrete house located in Mar del Plata, Argentina, designed in 2019 by Guillermo Elgart of TAM Arquitectura.

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“They were there. It was their home…They gave us permission. Suddenly, you feel the birds, the shadows protecting you, the light dancing, aroma of nature, sound of leaves and wind…

The soft heartwood is the beginning, you will enjoy it, it will guide your way, you will travel upon it, you will enter their leaves and walk on them, climb on them, till you reach the top.”

The site is located in a closed residential villa called “Las Prunas”, a green lung in the South of Mar del Plata, Argentina. The area presents a heavily wooded land, facing the North to the front and a slight level increase towards the center of the block.

The most valuable thing lies in the Eucalyptus forest that resides there. The objective is to not touch any of it, but instead, to be part of it.

We managed to work the maximum perimeter permitted in the site, resulting in a shell who embraces everything, giving us a spatial relation where interior and exterior coexist.

A shell of concrete that starts at ground level and ends on the top of the trees.

A second element appears, a surface on which the shell lies. Sometimes a stairway, sometimes a ramp, that blends and melds the floor level, transforming it into an extensive promenade. With all the features of Claude Parent’s space, where being and walking become the same.

Lastly, to the walkable fold, volumes are poised and holes were created (patios intertwined with trees) defining and enclosing off private living sectors. All these spaces expand in rhythm with the different levels of the outer spiral shell and take you to the garden terrace as the culmination point of the walkthrough, featuring nature’s domain.

A connection to nature is the beginning of this work. To create a space that is its own, protected and private; defending itself from its neighborhood. Like armor protecting the wearer’s heart.

We worked to create an element that catches the space inside and below it. Where the line between interior and exterior flows and moves freely.

Circulation paths and spatial relations. Constant vanishing points are featured in all directions through the massive concrete mass.

Investigating the multiplicity of spatial situations was the premise of this work. The house develops itself without a definition of levels, you are simply in the space. One can’t say that you are on the ground level or on the first floor or…

The first section is molded to the natural shape of the terrain and becomes the entrance. Or not, if you decide to walk along the spiral of the shell making your way to the center of the house. All the while understanding that the center is a space where the boundary between interior and exterior is undefined.

The house is a journey, it is being at any level, outside and inside, under or above, like climbing the limbs of a sturdy tree.

The most searched relation is a spatial one. The omnipresent shell links all spaces and gives order to them. Everyone and everything is under her presence. The house is the folds and the ramps; both of which weave their way inside of it. Taking us to different places of whom look at each other and feel the tension between the exterior surface and lines of communication. Your sight travels across various levels, always looking toward the green at the heart of the home. All of these visual leaks give meaning to the chosen typology.

Photography courtesy of TAM Arquitectura

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- by Matt Watts