Buenos Aires, Argentina1972 700 m²
This house (now substantially altered), designed by the architect for himself and his family, had the character of an inconclusive experiment. Set on the banks of a small tributary of the Río de la Plata just north of Buenos Aires in a neighborhood known as San Isidro, it was articulated in a vocabulary that reflected the architect’s fascination with sailing and the house’s location in a marina. Originally intended as a weekend retreat, the house soon became the family’s fulltime residence, although Viñoly continued to modify many aspects of its architecture.
Two towers rose from a wide living area, half a floor below grade, that contained the services and common areas in a large open plan. Within this space two large depressions in the floor delimited a music area, which contained a piano and other musical instruments, and a lounge area with a freestanding fireplace as its focal point. Elsewhere in the same open space were dining areas, a billiard table, an entry hall, and a bar. One end of the common area led to a kitchen and servants’ quarters. At the other end an array of floor-to-ceiling plate glass sliding doors opened onto a deck overlooking the garden, the water, and a circular pool set into the steep incline leading down to the mooring. At the kitchen end a tight spiral staircase led up to the family’s private quarters.
The bedrooms were aligned on a bridge connecting the towers above an open patio that was also the roof of the living area. At the top of each tower was a bright, sky-lit room; one of these was the architect’s study, the other a playroom for the three children. The intertwining of interior and exterior throughout the house’s vertical arrangement contributed to a tree house ambience.