Punta del Este, Uruguay2009 21,605 m²
Edificio Acqua is a six-story luxury residential complex that faces the South Atlantic Ocean in Uruguay’s beachfront resort of Punta del Este. Located adjacent to the main oceanfront roadway, this L-shaped, thirty-four-unit building responds to an irregularly shaped site with dense, context-sensitive development, introducing an unprecedented level of construction quality and architectural refinement to the high end of the Uruguayan housing market.
The building features a terraced elevation that steps back floor by floor, resembling a large staircase leading residents directly to the water’s edge. These setbacks not only minimize the structure’s overall mass when viewed from the beach, but also enable the creation of four “manor” and two “penthouse” apartments—spacious, single-floor units that include private terraces and swimming pools, with a total living area ranging from 6750 to 9050 gross square feet (627 to 841 gross square meters). With the combination of infinity pools that seem to extend to the ocean, abundant glazing on the three ocean-view sides, and the building setbacks that obscure views of the other units, each “manor” seems like an isolated residence.
The building contains a variety of other living configurations as well, including five double-height lofts and twenty-four single-floor apartment units. Living and dining areas typically face the ocean, and bedrooms, bathrooms, and other private spaces are situated along the glass exterior wall toward the rear and sides of the building, though many of these rooms enjoy ocean views as well. Nearly every bedroom features a walk-in closet and private bathroom. A series of terraces, alternately cantilevered out or set back into the building volume, animates the exterior and provides outdoor space for the apartments.
Passing through both wings of the building at ground level, a vehicular road provides access to ground-level parking bays, located adjacent to the seven elevator cores. A fitness center, spa, and outdoor pool are available to all residents.
“For me, Edificio Acqua has a special meaning,” says Rafael Viñoly, “as it is the first project I have completed in my native country of Uruguay. Its design reflects the uniqueness and beauty of its fashionable surroundings. Spectacular views create a sense of openness and accessibility, and the innovative use of materials and space produces a timeless architectural message.”