linking house
This design splits the house and then links it to facilitate the flows of privacy and togetherness with relatives and friends that support the union of a gregarious family. The spatial design was dictated by the preferences and character of its inhabitants. This is the home of a tightly knit family with 3 children, from 8 to 18 years of age, all of them very active socially. They achieved a consensus on what their home should be. First, the parents wanted to turn the house into a gathering place for the friends of all the members of the family"thus minimizing the expeditions away from the gated (secure) compound where the house was to be built. Second, they wanted to keep the family closely united while giving each of its members private spaces of their own"thus facilitating seclusion at times, while but also encouraging togetherness. Finally, the family wanted the house to evolve as they did; a home that would suit their needs as the children grew into teenagers, and then from teenagers into college students, and ultimately into visiting parents of grandchildren. To meet these requirements, the house was split into two cubes"set apart downstairs and joined by a bridge upstairs. The cube to the left of the entrance is the noisy one"the one used for the gatherings of youngsters, downstairs the common areas, and upstairs their bedrooms. The cube to the right is what the parents like to call the “serene` one; downstairs it includes the living room, the dinning room, and the spaces for adult entertainment. Upstairs, the ‘serene cube’ houses the parents’ suite, including their bedroom, bathroom, closets, and a gym. Between the two cubes, there is a covered terrace on the ground floor that can be taken over by any of the groups in the family. Upstairs, the two cubes join together into one single space, the family room. The feeling of separation of the cubes that exists in the lower level does not exist spatially in the upper one; there the family is united. While out-going, the family is not kitchen-oriented"the tasks associated with preparing meals are firmly delegated to a team of maidservants. For this reason, while the kitchen is central from the point of view of the flows of food and drinks, it is not central visually and is not integrated spatially with the entertainment areas. In the family’s current reality, the children are transitioning into older kids and teens, and one will soon leave for college. In the coming several years, as the family grows, the current design will meets their needs without any change in the use of the spaces. Further down the line however, as grandchildren appear on the scene, the lower left cube is envisioned to be the father’s home office. At the same time, the bedrooms upstairs are to become the grandchildren’s domains. The house is designed to facilitate this flexibility, but even the best laid plans are sometimes no match for the youthful enthusiasm (and noise) of grandchildren! The tropical climate of El Salvador, and the extraverted nature of the house’s inhabitants, suggested an open design, with good cross ventilation. The design also encourages an appreciation of the lush greenery of the gardens that surround the house. Together these factors come betray a rhythmical marriage of transparency with privacy, of solidity with openness, and of modern materials with natural elements all subtly but effectively marking the separation between spaces for the individual, and those for the family and their guests. The city of San Salvador is located in a place called “the hammock valley` because it is prone to tremors and earthquakes. To provide for this dangerous reality, the structure is made of concrete frames forming a modular grid, that reinforces the rhythms of the composition’s spatial cubes. The materials were chosen to be all natural and easy to maintain. Overall, the house expresses the unique character of a gregarious and close family. Theirs is a family that appreciates greenery and openness. They are sociable, and enjoy entertaining each others’ friends. They are also pragmatic, and recognize that each member needs his own space and a measure of privacy from time to time.


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Building Activity

  • OpenBuildings
    OpenBuildings added a digital reference
    about 5 years ago via
  • added a digital reference
    about 5 years ago via