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Caught in Changing Nature: Treehouse by Paschetta + Cavallero Architects

Caught in Changing Nature: Treehouse by Paschetta + Cavallero Architects

Treehouse by Paschetta + Cavallero Architects Ph. Federico Cairoli

Casita del Árbol (Treehouse) is a single-family house by Paschetta + Cavallero Architects created through the exploration of the boundaries between popular culture and disciplinary knowledge. Starting from an iconic childhood element, Treehouse seeks maximum tension in space, matter, and form, generating a work of landscape character and sustainability adjusted to low-cost modes of production and maintenance.

Ph. Federico Cairoli

The house is located in a multi-use space located in an area of high environmental value in the middle of the landscape of the Paraná River in the outskirts of Santa Fe, Argentina. It has a unique interior space and a small, double-height attic. The rooms located on the top floor are accessed by a staircase and a semi-transparent terrace of unfolded metal that creates the sensation of walking in the air between Timbos, the typical trees found in Paraná. The ground floor serves as a space for outdoor activities.

Three of its façades are completely open to take full advantage of the views of the treetops. The windows frame a changing nature that, like an enormous canvas, becomes the very essence of the built space.

The spatial and material concepts of the house come from two strong references: on the one hand, Case Study Houses, as an example of combined work between industry and design; and on the other hand, the re-elaboration of the constructive culture of the Argentinean Pampas with its sheds, workshops, mills, and factories. The latter’s beauty, spatial richness, and technological peculiarity have been ignored by academic culture. They are simple, metal structures with gable roofs that combine economic solutions, low maintenance, and local production.

The façades are striated, not only by the use of sheet metal but also because they acquire thickness and contain life: the plants grow, the traces of the construction can be recomposed, and the assembly technology is present. The striated façades are the opposite of the aesthetics of the smooth screen where the technology expresses itself and life is made present.

Treehouse is a space in nature. Its black color allows it to disappear at night between the tops of the trees whereas, during the day, the vines stand out with flowers and native orchids that are hung suspended.

Ph. Federico Cairoli

The area occupies six by six meters and is limited by the dimensions of the W profiles used for the main structure. The load-bearing structure has a double character, which provides maximum efficiency and a very effective bracing device that avoids tensors and costly structure resolutions. In terms of the landscape, the V-pillars are a reinterpretation of the Timbo’s sculptural trunks; while the railings and staircase speak of a fragility in the face of the immense nature of the Pampas.

DATE: 2016-2018 / LOCATION: Near Santa Fe, Argentina / AREA: 61 m2 (built) / PROGRAM: Single-Family House / STATUS: built / DESIGN: Leticia Paschetta, José Marcos Cavallero / CONSULTANTS: Enrique Chiappini Ing. (structure) / PHOTOS: Federico Cairoli

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