Designed by Ekaterina Künzel and María Belén García Bottazzin, Casa Castaños is a family home that focuses on sustainability and connectivity.
Located in Nordelta, an urban development 23km away from Buenos Aires in Argentina, Casa Castaños was a property that was designed for a young couple with plans to grow their family. Designed by Ekaterina Künzel and María Belén García Bottazzin, the house features three bedrooms, an integrated kitchen and dining room, a semi-covered social space with a fireplace, and a swimming pool.
From the beginning, part of the project’s brief was to prioritise the connections between spaces, allowing gathering and social activities to happen easily. The clients were also interested in the idea of using bare concrete and dark elements, in a quasi-brutalist style, for the exterior and common spaces. Meanwhile, in the bedrooms, they have chosen to go with more traditional features, including plastered walls and wooden floors.
Visually, the design team chose to hide the impact of the building’s ground floor from the outside, camouflaging the area and creating more privacy for the residents. Dark grey was used across the ground floor partitions, and areas have been hidden from the front by the team pulling back the entrance, positioning it behind the car parking space.
A deep courtyard has been created to create more distance between Casa Castaños and the street; on one side of the courtyard is a glass façade, through which lies the staircase and the main entrance. The team wanted to enhance the brutalist elements of the building by bringing it into contact with nature; as a result, the house has been structured around the courtyard, and the social areas have been positioned in relation to the garden, further creating a blend of indoor/outdoor space.
One of the most important fundamentals of this project was the ‘passive principles of sustainability’, which the design team keeps at the fore front of their minds for all their projects. Künzel and Bottazzin try to do all they can to “improve energy efficiency through design and architecture”. For the Castaños House project, several principles of suitability were incorporated.
These principles include: cross ventilation throughout the house thanks to the new windows; the incorporation of a tree in the courtyard, to generate a microclimate and dissipate the summer heat; thermal insulation, through the internal coatings of the concrete, a layer of glass wool, and a seal of double glazing; and finally, considering which materials are used and their qualities, such as the concrete and its ability to conduct natural heat in the cooler months.