Retreat in the Delta
San Fernando Delta, Buenos Aires, Argentina
An amphibious house — an adjective that refers to a being that can live indiscriminately on land or in water — built high above the ground to coexist with the periodic flooding on the banks of the Paraná Miní, an earthy river with a gentle flow. One of the first houses certified by Passivhaus in Argentina.
★ Honorable mention to the architecture project as a tool for sustainability, ADUS Award 2021 FPAA, Saint-Gobain
★ Short List Dezeen Awards 2022- Rural House
★ Habitat and Sustainability Finalist Award, in the Sustainable Architecture and Energy Efficiency category, XXIII Pan-American Architecture Biennial of Quito
An amphibious house — an adjective that refers to a being that can live indiscriminately on land or in water — built high above the ground to coexist with the periodic flooding on the banks of the Paraná Miní, an earthy river with a gentle flow.
The house is subordinated to the logic of its natural environment. It is located in San Fernando Delta, near the local public facilities and has direct access by river transport through the Paraná Miní, one of the main canals of the delta. The river functions as a street, square and public space for a community that is building a new concept of urbanity in strict connection with nature.
The construction, strongly conditioned by the distance from the means of production of the city, is conceived as a set of prefabricated elements capable of being transported in small boats. The structure is mainly composed of pieces of impregnated reforestation Pinus elliotis laminated wood. A dry construction system of prefabricated SIP panels covered with black sheet metal and wood establishes the spaces of the house.
The retreat was designed according to a set of passive bioclimatic control strategies, with the aim of consciously inhabiting the landscape. It is one of the first houses in Argentina certified by the Passivhaus Institute. For these purposes, the airtightness of the house’s outer walls is studied in detail, minimizing indoor-outdoor heat transfers and, therefore, also the energy consumption necessary to achieve optimal levels of hygrothermal comfort during all seasons. The spaces are compact to reduce the surface of contact with the outside, with main spaces facing north and secondary spaces facing south. A system of ordered balconies controls the sunlight and expands the interior spaces towards the surroundings.
The house answers the initial question of how to make an off-grid home today, using new technologies to achieve the comfort of an urban home, but without compromising the host ecosystem or the primitive experience of the remote landscape.