‘La Skala’ is light and airy, lighthearted. It is a pair of two glass boxes supported by white walls. The glass in the facades recedes into covered terraces, creating a cadence of voids and reflections without detracting from the overall transparency of the buildings. When illuminated at night, ‘La Skala’ seems to float like a crystal against the darkness of the tall trees that grow behind it. It looks like a symbolic work of art built to mark the end of the urban areas of the city of San Salvador and the beginning of the forests that surround it. Yet, it is also a project that was conceived in a totally rational way. The land lot on which ‘La Skala’ was built provided many attractive advantages for an upper-middle class housing project. It also imposed many constraints on its design. The most appealing feature was the view. Perched high on the slopes leading from the city of San Salvador to a nearby volcano, the lot itself runs downwards toward the city, affording a striking view of its entire expanse. The line marking the height of 1,000 meters above sea level goes through the lot, splitting it. Regulations do not allow constructions above 1,000 meters, which meant the upper third of the lot could not be constructed on. This exclusion included parking lots, so the upper third of the land had to be left as gardens. Regulations also impose a limit on the height of the buildings; they cannot be higher than 3 floors plus the height of a mezzanine. The challenge then, was to achieve a project that conformed to regulations, while also providing the views, variety of sizes and layouts, and modern architectural appeal that would make it financially viable. Part of the solution was a simple, modular structural design; facilitating lower costs and the investment in better finishing materials than those used by the competition. The final design achieved apartments of varying sizes; from 90 square meters for studios, to 200 meters for two-bedroom apartments, as well as a few larger Penthouses with three bedrooms. As two parking spaces come standard with apartments in this market, the number of spaces that could be built on the land further constrained design options for the apartment buildings. In the end, two sister buildings rose up together, one three stories and a mezzanine high located just below the 1,000 meters line, and the other down the slope and only three stories high. This arrangement maximized the number of apartments that would enjoy the view, leaving only one floor in the back building without a direct view of the city. To compensate, apartments in that floor have private gardens facing the tropical garden and volcano behind, and their designs give the feeling of small townhouses. The glass walls take full advantage of the privileged view. The balconies, lined with glass in front and concrete on the sides, give depth and variety to the façade overlooking the city. The glass walls and the balconies extend the view of the apartments in such a way that they look much bigger than they are. The apartments are sober, like white canvas that invites dwellers to imprint their character in the creation of a living space"today and as they evolve with time. All apartments in ‘La Skala’ have access to two communal spaces. One is the large garden located on the third of the lot beyond the 1,000 meters line, with the volcano, woods and fauna surrounding it. The other, is an open entertainment area on the top floor of the front building, which includes a small pool and Jacuzzi and opens to the city with a very urban feeling. Structural walls split the width of the land lot into 5 equal modules, 7.5 meters apart"the width necessary to park 3 cars. The walls are interrupted by spaces left for circulation between apartments and inside them, creating ten structural modules. The apartments are combinations of these modules, vertically and horizontally. The combination of duplex and flats is expressed in the facades. The buildings of ‘La Skala’, with their terraced parking areas and the access road below, together step-up into their lush green surroundings. Combined with the appeal of the modern design and high quality finishing’s, ‘La Skala’ is an aspirational address for those ‘moving up’ in developing El Salvador.


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  • davy davy
    davy davy commented
    very nice design
    about 3 years ago via Mobile
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