In an old area of bustling downtown Buenos Aires, tucked away among the neighbouring skyscrapers, a textile designer has carved out a bit of space for her combination house and atelier where both life and work, art and investigation, are absolutely integrated.
The pre-existing house is located in the center of the block on the first floor of an old building and occupies two levels. The first level included the entrance, kitchen, library and the atelier, while in the mezzanine is located a small room where a steel staircase connected the living space with an external terrace.
But the challenge for Argentine architects FPS Oficina de Arquitectura was to create a new space for the atelier that would be very low cost and would not intrude into the rest of the house. The only possibility was to add a rooftop construction.
Consequently FPS, integrated by Francisco Fenili, Jorge Perez and Julio Sepiurka, thought that it would be interesting to do a prefabricated steel container box, manufactured offsite and assembled in place. FPS felt that the steel box would provide an opposing aspect between the old masonry building and the new metal space, achieving an independent scheme where creative activity could take place.
The steel volume is very different from the surrounding city, accentuated with red exterior colour that emphasizes the creative inspiration of the owner, and the contrast between the old and the new architecture.
The building structure was prefabricated and carried, piece by piece, in through the upper part of the house and over the roof, which was the only access to the site. The pieces were then assembled on the rooftop.
To perch the new building on top of the old structure, the construction engineers developed a custom steel foundation over the existing brick wall, specially designed to transmit the weight of the building to the structure of the house.
Inside the atelier takes in the immensity of the city through large floor-to-ceiling glazing, giving the impression of a refuge for the artist’s creative inspiration.