The project is located in Balvanera, a central neighborhood of Buenos Aires that presents a heterogeneous built profile with a strong commercial presence and an identity characterized by cultural diversity. This pattern is further consolidated when understanding its direct link with the building of the Argentine National Congress, with the large number of hotels distributed throughout the area or with the Miserere Square, that acts as a hub for trains, buses and subways. Balvanera could be interpreted as a neighborhood of national identity.
- Architecture as identity. The assignment originates from the clients' need to have administrative offices in new building that determines their identity as an institution. These offices had to be complemented by apartments to be used by people travelling from the provinces of Argentina to Buenos Aires for a certain period of time. Among the clients' initial demands was the use of a glass façade as an image towards the city, which for us was an essencial part of the initial program.
- The potential of mixed uses. The initial idea was to locate work and domesticity in the same block. This option was rapidly discarded after the first tests when the incompatibility of the circulation dynamics was verified. Taking advantage of the long proportion of the site (7.60 x 47.60 m) it was then decided to divide the uses into two independent blocks: the office one in the front, more exposed to the street and the domestic one in the back, more reserved in the center of the block. In this way, a daily relationship is generated between all the people who inhabit the building while providing privacy in each of the parts.
- Adapt to the given conditions. Both blocks adjust their buildable profile to the limits determined by the internal front line. This imaginary line is determined by the Government of the City of Buenos Aires to delimit a non-buildable area in the center of the block. Instead of looking for alternatives to deal with this restriction, the project adapts to the resulting silhouette. In this way, two individual blocks are proposed to take advantage of all the possible footprint and are developed with the necessary height to deal with the proposal.
- The void as a meeting place. Both building blocks are connected through a central void that works as a meeting point. This void is projected through a garden of organic shapes, white stones and growing vegetation that aims to generate meeting places for the people who work and inhabit the building.
- Versatile and timeless from the beginning. The office block is planned on four levels with open spaces that allow to deal with the constant changes in today's work dynamics. Each level has outdoor spaces materialized by balconies on the lower floors and a terrace on the upper floor. The domestic block is also planned on four levels but made up of two stacked duplex apartments. Each one of them operates as an individual unit designed with the minimum elements necessary to be temporarily inhabited.
- How to be efficient in the Argentine context. In an economic context as complex and variable as the Argentine one, it is necessary to be rational and efficient in the materialization of architecture. In that sense, the construction of the building is proposed in a synthetic and traditional way through the implementation of few elements, but optimizing their use. To do this, we proposed a reinforced concrete skeleton and lightweight masonry walls, textured white anodized aluminum frames in the windows and airtight double glazing for greater thermal efficiency. In this way, we make it easier to deal with suppliers while achieving efficiency and durability in the use of the elements.
- A new way of perceiving the environment. Faced with a complex and heterogeneous urban context, the project is created from synthesis as contrast. Pure lines, geometric composition and white elements characterize a building that aims to communicate order and timelessness.