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Trenque Lauquen, Buenos Aires.


Designing a building on a pass-through plot, situated in an area of low density and minimal consolidation, offers us the opportunity for it to not only reflect the local architecture but also the block's morphology.

 The building responds to its pass-through condition while taking advantage of the mandatory lateral setback to create a Passage-Atrium, a semi-public corridor that connects the building's entrance hall to both streets, controlling access while also generating public space, functioning as an atrium and expansion of the building. 


The plot fronts two different streets on the city's periphery: Regimiento 3 de Caballería and S. Rubio Street. Accordingly, we propose an urban access toward Regimiento 3 de Caballería, bringing the building closer to the municipal line with a semi-covered area for cars, and setting back the building from S. Rubio Street, creating a bay. This setback allows for open-air vehicle parking. The Passage-Atrium interrupts the future morphological continuity of the block, emphasizing the institutional character of the building and accentuating the access. 


The building is conceived from three inseparable elements that combine to form a whole. 


A single, monomaterial element containing the various functional areas of the required program, both interior and exterior, as proposed by the project team, adhering to the concept of a "unique building." 


An element that provides: a) the possibility of accessing the building from both city streets, and b) the potential to create an outdoor area akin to an "atrium," connected to the building's entrance hall. 


An integral element that addresses various enclosure situations, including lighting and ventilation, responding to solar exposure and thermal regulation, and providing visual control of the different activities within the building. 


The building's scalability was conceived in such a way that it possesses a unique institutional image from the initial stage. Growth is accommodated in a void located between the Birch Tree Patio and the S.U.M., allowing it to be used as an expansion courtyard. When incorporating the new surface, a reinforced concrete slab will be constructed over the beams created in the first phase, followed by subflooring, a concrete layer, and flooring. Finally, the existing carpnetry will be moved to the new boundary, expanding the S.U.M., completing the volume. 


The building primarily consists of three noble and low-maintenance materials: reinforced concrete, glass, and aluminum. With reinforced concrete being the predominant material, it addresses both the structural needs of the program and the contemporary image of the building. 

The S.U.M. structure is resolved with a framing with nine-meter spans, with additional slabs incorporated at the time of expansion. Exterior carpentry is resolved with modern D.V.H. joineries, while interior spaces feature tempered glass panels.



The metal enclosure features a pivoting gate system to enable the closure of the passage during times when the building is closed.



The program's division into layers allows for the placement of the S.U.M., the growth area, and the courtyards in a row, enabling constructive rationalization and a close relationship between the S.U.M. and the entrance hall, and consequently, with the passage. The arrangement of the S.U.M. and its direct connection to the entrance hall allows for various configurations for conducting activities such as training sessions, conferences, social gatherings, and community activities. 

Administrative areas are located away from the S.U.M. to ensure proper acoustic functioning for both activities. 

The birch and acacia tree planting in the courtyards helps absorb noise from the S.U.M. The topological organization and reinforced concrete framing allow for a total growth of the 150 square meters required by the program, as well as partial growths of 50 or 100 meters depending on future needs. 


Rainwater Collection for Irrigation In the first phase, flat roofs facilitate rainwater collection, channeled to the Acacia Patio where a cistern with a capacity of 2000 liters is located. In the second phase, rainwater is pumped from the cistern to the green areas for irrigation. 

The project's absorbent surface area is 463.00 m2, resulting in a Soil Absorption Coefficient (S.A.C.) of 0.36 (the regulatory minimum is 0.2). This surface is achieved through the use of permeable flooring in outdoor areas (wooden decking and precast concrete tiles). 

Different species are planted in each courtyard to give them their own identity. Acacias (Acacia Baileyana), a medium-sized species with a rounded port and slightly hanging branches, bright yellow flowers, rapid growth, and frost resistance, are chosen for the patio adjacent to the dining area and S.U.M. Birch trees (Betula Pubescens), highly resistant to climatic conditions, deciduous with foliage that provides shade in summer and sunlight in winter, featuring ornamental value due to their silver bark, slim texture, and colorful foliage in autumn, are proposed for the patio adjacent to the S.U.M. expansion area. 

Various species of grasses and salvias (Leucantha Pratensis and Guaranitica) are chosen for the passage, selected for their violet tones contrasting with the straw tones of the grasses. These plants require low maintenance and are selected for their aesthetic value. The chosen grasses include Carex and Pennisetum (Setaceum Rubrum or Fox Tail), which form mobile perennial clumps with reddish-pink foliage swaying in the wind. Liquidambar Styraciflua L. is chosen for the front setback facing S. Rubio Street, valued for its ornamental character and its ability to provide shade for parking. Deciduous trees with maple-shaped leaves, pyramidal or conical in shape, offering one of the most striking autumnal hues. Ash trees (Fraxinus), medium-sized deciduous trees with a rounded crown, are chosen for the sidewalks. This species is selected for its ability to provide shade, ornamental value, and good adaptation to the local climatic conditions. 

The layout of the courtyards allows for cross ventilation of all spaces. We propose the use of controlled-opening windows at both the bottom and top edges. Solar Control and Lighting Passive solar control systems are used on the façades, implemented with vertical sunshades. Rotation is studied according to the incidence of each orientation. Double-glazed hermetic window systems (DVH) are utilized. Solar incidence is controlled with trees in courtyards. 



Project details: 

Location: Trenque Lauquen, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Authors: Arch. Gustavo Aranguren, Arch. Mariel Cámara, Arch. Ezequiel Muñoz. 

Year: 2014

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