lunes, 25 de mayo de 2009

1001 BUILDINGS you must see before you die

Casa Ponce
1001 BUILDINGS you must see before you die
(Quintessence Books) (Hardcover)
by Mark Irving (Editor)

Located on the slope of the historic section of San Isidro Labrador to the north of Buenos Aires, Mathias Klotz’s most renowned work challenges the tolerance of the domestic in relation to the skills of modern architecture.

Partly semi-underground and almost entirely a cantilevered building, Casa Ponce- more than three-quarters of which floats above the ground and itself- is not only a disturbing and spectacular architectural structure but also an overt metaphor for the fetish of contemporary architecture: the cantilevered box.

On a 21,528 square-foot lot in a dramatic rectangular shape, Klotz resolves the quite unchallenging single-family housing program with a provocative twist: providing, on such a narrow lot, open views of the Río de la Plata, located behind the property. The layout of the parallel bars along the length of the lot struggles with the problematic decision not to divide the lot in two.

A compact concrete bar rests on the edge that it shares with the glass box in the middle, and all the elements seem to float on a small semi-underground volume where the services are housed. The bedrooms are on the upper level, with its fabulous garden deck, while the crystal volume houses the living room, deceiving the eye and making the pool appear to extend over the river on the horizon. The service rooms, the machine rooms and the laundry room literally hold up the house.

The functionality of such vertiginous cantilevers could be debated, as could the simple structural provocation of making weekend bathers seem to levitate; clearly, the work of this still young architect does not only aim to provide heavenly views of the landscape, but also to add a bit of dramaticism to life in these riverside suburbs. P.A.B.