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November 16, 2012

David Barragan and Jose Maria Saez call their Pentimento House "an architecture to be naked to connect with its surroundings." Built using a new, Lego-like modular prefab system the two architects developed, the Quito, Ecuador, project is featured in our December/January 2013 issue on newsstands November 27. Here, we share a slideshow of the house under construction and a sneak peek of the finished product.

The Pentimento House in Quito, Ecuador, is made from concrete modules that function like Lego blocks.
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Pentimento House in Ecuador house plan
Here are some preliminary sketches of the project. Resident Desiree Marin wanted a house that would blend in with its environment and that could be built without disturbing the mature trees on her property.
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The architects were confronted with a very tight budget, which challenged them to create a flexible structural system. The most basic unit of the house is a concrete block modeled after fruit baskets the architects saw at a local market. "It can be placed in four different ways which solves structure, wall, furniture, ladders, even a garden facade," says Saez. Here's a wooden model of the module.
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Each module stacks to become a wall.
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Here's a model of the house. The prefab system was devised as a flexible new building typology well suited to the earthquake-prone region of Ecuador. The concrete blocks are used for interior and exterior walls. Outside they can become planters for a vertical garden and inside they become storage—even a support for a dining table that seems to levitate.
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Here's the house's foundation.
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Builders place steel rods into the foundation, which hold the precast concrete blocks in place.
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Here's a view of the steel rods that will eventually support the interior walls.
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A construction worker preps the steel rods and concrete slab.
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The pieces are inserted over steel rods anchored with epoxy glue to the platform and become a tight structure of small columns and lintels.
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The start of an interior wall is in the center of this photo.
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Here are the walls nearing completion.
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Here's the finished structure. Transparent or translucent acrylic, and wooden strips fill the voids between the blocks, filtering light throughout the house.
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Here's the exterior.
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The versatile structure becomes shelf for books, ephemera, and whatever else needs to be stowed away. To see the complete house, pick up our December/January 2013 Prefab Comes Home issue on newsstands November 27.
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pentimento house 1
The Pentimento House in Quito, Ecuador, is made from concrete modules that function like Lego blocks.

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