Project: View House
Architects: Johnston MarkLee
Location: Rosario, Argentina
Area: 3,200 sq ft (house), 22,750 sq ft (plot)
Photographs by: Gustavo Frittegotto
View House by Johnston MarkLee
Johnston MarkLee along with Diego Arraigada Architects have designed the View House in the city of Rosario in Argentina. This contemporary residence immediately becomes the focus of attention with its extremely irregular exterior made of cast concrete that seems to hide it well within the surrounding landscape contrary to what anyone might think. It is the shape that does this.
The View House spans across two levels, both featuring minimalist interiors further enhanced by natural light that enters through the large windows around the home.
The View House is designed under conditions generated by both the potential and limitations of large suburban developments. Situated on the vast landscape of the Argentine plains, the 3200 sq foot house occupies a 22,750 sq foot parcel. The design is driven by two conflicting desires: engaging the living experience of the house with the views of the landscape and preserving privacy from neighbors.
Planning demands and the unique position of the peripheral lot resulted in a compact massing strategy with a minimal footprint that liberates and preserves the ground. By denying the traditional front, side, and rear yard designations, the perception of the house unfolds in a continuous sequence of surfaces where every façade becomes primary.
The formal and tectonic complexity of the house results from four basic geometric subtractions at the corners of a primitive mass that create an exterior shape perceived simultaneously as embedded and lofted, cantilevered and slumped. In the interior, these operations define a continuous space that spirals upwards from the ground level to the roof terrace in a sequence of living areas. The four subtractions have differentiated volumetric impressions, each of which, together with the contiguous aperture, results in an interior landscape of paired surfaces and lighting effects.
The strategy for the apertures is derived from the framing of desirable landscape features, the anticipation of neighboring developments and the choreography of internal circulation. Varying in height, orientation, and depth, each framed opening captures a distinct view, providing alternating relationships between interior and exterior.
The rough concrete shell of the house was built using traditional local techniques, and its finish retains the impression of its construction. In contrast, the interior of the house is smooth and polished in nature.
As a culmination of the internal circulation along a path of 360º, a flight of steps leads up to a panoramic roof deck, from which the expansive surrounding landscape can be perceived from a new height.