Retreat in the Delta

Delta San Fernando, 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.

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.

★ Honorable mention architecture project as a sustainable tool, ADUS 2021 FPAA Award, Saint-Gobain
★ Short List Dezeen Awards 2022
★ Finalist for the Habitat and Sustainability award, XXIII Pan-American Architecture Biennial of Quit

Authors: Luciano Andrades, Matías Carballal, Andrés Gobba, Mauricio López, Silvio Machado.

Project Team: Pablo Courreges, Emiliano Lago, Flavio Faggion, Fabián Sarubbi, Martina Pedreira, Agustín Dieste, Sebastián Lambert, Diamela Meyer, Alejandro Cuadro, Victoria Muniz, Diego Morera, Sandra Rodríguez, Emilia Dehl, Amanda Cappelatti, Agustina Vigevani, Constanza Manzochi, Daniela Moro, Eduardo Kopittke, Fernanda Dihl, Helena Utzig, Juliana Colombo, Lucas Marques, Lucía Martinotti, Ma. Eduarda Cavassola, Mateus Grandini, Mauricio Müller, Pedro Brandelli, Pedro Reichelt, Pierina Nervi, Romina Mangini.

Photography: Leonardo Finotti
Photography: Javier Agustín Rojas
Model Photography: Camila Alba

Executive Development and Construction Management: Joaquín Berdes
Passivhaus Consulting: SUPERFICIE, Pedro Reyna, Lole Gawuryb, Gabriel Yurevich
Landscape Project: Clara Billoch
Lighting Project: Eli Sirlin
Plumbing Project: Labonia Asociados
Electrical Project: Carlos Frontini
Structural Calculation: Diego Vázquez
Municipal Agency: Ado Estudio
Construction Company: Battagliero Construcciones
Interior Design: Solsken
Passivhaus Openings: The Boulevard Openings / Partner Schüco Argentina
Laminated Wood: Valerio Oliva
Envelope: SIPANEL
Metallic coatings: FAPYM SA
Structural Connections: Rothoblaas Argentina
Lighting Fixtures: Kolor Lighting / WLG_Idea_Vonderk_Lucciola
Home automation and audio: Cronolait / Lutron, Sonance, Savant