Architects: Arno Brandlhuber     Photography: Erica Overmeer     Construction Period:  2021     Location:  Rocha, Uruguay

Working from the idea of the Four-Directional Module this beach house in Rocha, Uruguay, uses stacked maisonette units to optimize exposure to the sun and surrounding landscape. Perched on pilotis above a pool in a beachside pine grove, the house takes the 3.5 per 12 meter module as its primary building block, repeating and rotating it to create three maisonette units. The interlacing of living and working is realized via the two-story units whose first and second levels are stacked perpendicular to one another.

The north-south orientation of the first module provides ideal light for work, while the east-west orientation of the second module—with morning light and evening sun—produces ideal exposure for living. While all three maisonette start with a similar spatial condition, they are designed to be used in different ways. For example, one unit has a large kitchen, while the second just has a few burners and the third only has an outdoor grill. In this way, the house suggests a variety of possible uses, such as hosting a visiting friend or temporarily downsizing to rent out the other units. Each maisonette unit can operate as an individual apartment, or they can be aggregated to form a single beach villa.

Built from a concrete frame with brick infill, the house uses inexpensive construction techniques to permit other types of luxuries: windows in all four directions, double-height spaces and exterior entrances for each unit. Heating is provided by fireplaces, while curtains can be used to partition the open floor plan. Instead of hyper designed details, tenants receive open-ended design that can be adapted to their specific needs.

Text provided by the architect.

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