9 August 2007

Miguel Angel Roca - Casa Calamuchita

Miguel Angel Roca
Casa Calamuchita

In the main focal area of the house Miguel has created the ideal open plan living area for a weekend retreat. It's multi purpose, acting as a kitchen, dining and guest bunk area for busy weekends. The central open-planned-ness can be closed up by shutters and still has a feeling of intimacy/security with the solid stone structures in each corner. These pillars house the kitchen, bathroom and service areas (being a pantry and cellar, as all good Argentinean houses should with their fine Cab. Sav.s about).

So it's a house full of intimate nooks, an open plan area that can be both breeze filled open dining and living area, created with vernacular materials in a modern way forming a house that fits with its environment and its purpose as a weekend retreat.

Behind the open structure of the living room is a tower, wrapped in a glass encased staircase. The staircase runs around the outside, allowing views to all 4 directions as one circulates. I guess, allowing the owner to check on things as he heads up to bed and that things are in order for the day as he decends for breakfast. This means the inner structure can be more sincere with each floor set for its purpose housing: a study, bedroom and viewing platform on the top floor.

My wishes/thoughts for a similar house: -

The flat roof lends itself to a modern green or solar roof and the layout north-south will provide a lot of passive solar heating. I can also see the stone areas regulating the temperature of those large glass enclosed spaces, but remember the shutters can protect the area slightly.

If only he had created larger corner units and housed bedrooms in these. This would give everyone the sense of living in their own little cabin (protected stone cave), yet still being connected to a central gathering area.

Or one step further, to provide a sound buffer, separate the bedrooms out from the main structure in a series of covered pathways. But then again, that's me thinking of a family size house, this here works fantastic as a couples retreat where the family comes and stays on the odd occasion. And the tower gives them that split between repose and recreation.

Images follow

From Miguel's website - Notes on the project that I've translated.

The Valley of Calamuchita is a calm landscape of fields cultivated between two parallel mountain ranges. The fields lie east to west between the skirts of the great mountain ranges and the skirts of the small mountain ranges. The fields for a tapestry between mountain walls and in the case of my field, between rows of trees. The house is elevated on the hill with a smooth slope that falls towards the Valley.
The house is a transparent glass pavilion with the North - South axis parallel to the valley like a cultural reference to the natural fact. The glass box, between four stones that enclose the services, is a space fluid in its unitary interior sometimes dining sometimes an additional sleeping area. For climatic reasons of cold winters and fresh nights, and the altitude of the place, the glass box this surrounded in a wood box. This box of sliding shutters allows small or large openings providing variable dimensions and sensations of privacy or openness.
This unit completes and complements with a tower of study, bedrooms and viewing platform, that alludes to the vertical axis of the mountain. A glass enclosed stairwell spirals around the outside of the building, allowing all 4 aspects of the surroundings to be taken in as one passes from level to level. At the top you arrive at the terrace viewpoint that allows, like in each level, extended lines of vision towards the Valley. By day the living area, surrounded by the service blocks, mimics the valley, at night the tower recreates the mountain. At night I escape to the safety of the mountain tower, returning at dawn to the living area and valley.

Via: miguelangelroca.com