private commission
< 500.000€
competition - FIRST PRIZE

Paolo Burattini, Flavia Thalisa Gütermann,

structure: alejandro bernabeu
cost: fast furious office

The Varsavsky house was designed and built by the architecture studio AceboXAlonso. The work, a finished, delimited volume, with clear and precise contours, was completed in 2009. In 2022, the family calls a restricted competition with three objectives: expand the bedrooms wing, expand the balcony in the living area , and include a small heated pool. But our proposal made something very clear from the beginning: it is not a modular house, it is not a house designed to be developed in phases, the house is a finished. An extension is not possible, only a superposition is possible.

The model is Santa Maria Novella, where Alberti, on the basis of a Gothic construction, begins the Renaissance with a new façade that does not erase the previous one, but rather understands it and superimposes a new construction on it, so that the church has two periods, perfectly harmonized and distinguishable. And the method is that of Carlo Scarpa in Castelvecchio, where, at the junction of the new floors with the walls, he left a small sunken channel, very useful for water rises in Venice, but useless for this purpose in Verona. However, this small transition element demonstrates constructive mastery, since it allows the new floors to be established with regular and precise boundaries, with the channels being the ones that absorb not only the water, but the irregularity in the meeting with the existing walls. They are, therefore, an elegant and symbolic (the reference to Venice) element of transition/union between two different times of construction, avoiding a rude and direct encounter.

For the rest, the proposal does not seek a dialectical relationship of opposites between the new and the existing, but, returning to Alberti, to establish points of union and mutual reference, generating a more ambiguous whole where it is not so obvious to differentiate between what was already there and what is new. Thus, the material language is the same: concrete, steel and glass; and the construction syntax is also the same, reinforced concrete slabs and walls and glass facades.

The extension of the bedroom wing is carried out mainly through a large edge beam, slightly curved with its inflection point hinting at the entrance place, which rests on two large single pillars: beam and pillars form an entrance porch to the house, denoting the intention to prioritize this façade; new slabs link the bedrooms with the new beam, and between the new slabs and the existing ones, the transition element is introduced: a 20cm wide sheet of glass that symbolizes an immaterial bond of union between the existing construction and the new one. Concrete 'ribs' emerge from the beam and rest on the roof slab. These ribs are a mediating element with the landscape, a relationship filter, but also the element that will support the bedroom block, resolved with a glass box that is introduced into the new space created under the shelter of the ribs, leaving a new longitudinal balcony that now relates and connects all the bedrooms. Finally, the master bedroom extends through a new terrace, separated from the rest of the bedrooms by a void that in turn introduces light towards the parking lot.

Following the same criteria, the living room terrace is extended on the side by means of a new slab separated from the existing one by the same glass sheet/transition element. And a new heated swimming pool is located in the axis of the rest area. Its geometry is a perfect circumference of 4m in diameter, something not coincidental, since it is the only pure shape on the entire plot.

The new bedrooms created are not a simple extension of the existing ones, but rather they propose totally new spaces, as their ceilings (of the new part) are the set of ribs plus glass, and by creating a new large balcony that connects all the rooms. bedrooms on the outside and undoes the only area of the house that had cul de sac routes. The versatility of using these extensions as exterior porches, as small studios... or as places to sleep while watching the stars, multiplies the sensations of the project.

The proposal was chosen as the winner, but, after a few months of preliminary studies to draft the construction documents, the clients decided not to go ahead.

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