A Remote Prefab in Uruguay Is Completely Self-Sufficient

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By Lucy Wang
In a wild, remote setting in Uruguay, a stunning prefabricated retreat provides urban comfort with minimal impact on the landscape.

With nary a neighbor in sight, the Retreat in Finca Aguy occupies an enviable plot among the low eastern mountains in Pueblo Eden. MAPA Architects designed the modern home for a well-traveled family who wanted a minimal retreat that embraced the unique Uruguayan landscape. In keeping with the clients’ desire for a low-impact home, the abode was constructed in a Montevideo factory 200 kilometers away and equipped with off-grid technologies including solar panels and an on-site waste treatment system.

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The 700-square-meter home was constructed with a prefabricated steel-frame system and sheathed in low-maintenance sheet metal. Factory construction took four months, and the project’s cost was approximately $250,000. 

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Trucked to the site in two parts, the home was set atop two locally crafted stone walls built on-site. Multiple site visits were made to determine the optimal site placement that prioritized views and solar orientation. 

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"Its abstract shape contrasts with the sinuous landscapes in which it is located," explains MAPA Architects. "We like the notion of an intentional contrast between nature and artifice."

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"How to work in the best possible way within remote landscapes is a question that always guides us," says MAPA Architects. "We believe that Retreat in Finca Aguy is one of the possible answers, which combines landscape and industry in a manner they both benefit from each other."

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In contrast to the exterior, the interior is lined in timber. Garapa wood covers the floor, while Canadian pinewood lines the walls and ceiling.

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An open-plan living, dining, and kitchen space is placed at the heart of the home and flanked by two matching en-suite bedrooms. A sheltered balcony terrace spans the width of the building and juts out over one of the supporting stone walls.

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The prefabricated home, which can be removed with minimal impact if needed, operates completely off the grid.

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