Celebrated Polo Player Nacho Figueras Commissions a Low-Slung, Concrete Stable
In central Argentina, the province of La Pampa is dominated by vast, grassy plains whose fertile soil supports myriad farms and ranches. Stretching out in all directions, the flatlands resemble an ocean in its sheer horizontality. When professional polo player Nacho Figueras—a champion of the sport and a longtime Ralph Lauren model—enlisted architect Juan Ignacio Ramos of Estudio Ramos to build a stable for 44 polo horses, the architect was sure to incorporate the region’s meditative flatness into the design.
The 3,850-square-foot Figueras Polo Stables sprawl along a length of 180 meters, its two volumes separated by their functions: one is more social and overlooks the polo field; the other holds the work areas and grooms’ quarters. Extended walls and grassy slopes rise up to obscure the building that faces the field, providing privacy and embedding the stables into the landscape. The slopes also serve as natural ramps that lead to the roof, which is planted with wild, native grasses—a textural contrast to the curated green lawn below.
Made of exposed cast concrete and local hardwoods, the structure pays homage to three master architects. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s sharp lines are apparent throughout the project, while the walls and a connecting reflecting pool were influenced by Luis Barragán. The interplay between light and concrete is a nod to Tadao Ando. True to Aristotle's maxim, the building is greater than the sum of its parts: taken as a whole, it honors the intimate bond between trainers and horses by providing clearly delineated spaces that allow their relationship to grow.