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From IVAN GRIPPALDI
The project plot, near the Panama Canal, is located in the former military base of Fort Clayton that is now defined by the urbanist law as "Garden City" and is adjacent to a protected tropical rainforest and typical military residences.
The concept is living between walls. Within the composition, six large-scale bearing axes that become permeable walls, generating the program and guiding the user to a connection between the house and the tropical rainforest but keeping it private towards the collective environment. Consequently, the house is "L" shaped with two opaque sides, formed by solid walls with punctual openings that contrast with two mainly transparent sides characterized by large windows that open into the garden and the tropical rainforest. The house is placed on the ground adapting to the existing sloped topography. Therefore, a cantilevered volume of almost six meters is generated in the main facade in front of the access road.
The relationship between interior and exterior has been a fundamental element in the design.
All the rooms in the house have full height windows that allow the functions of each one to be extended to the adjacent outdoor space. A water mirror serves as an axis between the entrance, the living area and the garden connecting the pool and generating a relationship of continuity between interior and exterior. On the ground floor there is the parking, cinema, technical rooms and rooms for service personnel. On the first level there is the main entrance, the client's private study, living room, dining room, bar, wine cellar, kitchen and laundry room. All these rooms are in facing the pool and are connected to the rest of the house through an open space where the barbecue and outdoor dining area is located, with direct connection to the kitchen. On the second level there are three bedrooms, each with a bathroom and walk in closet, as well as a den and study room. In the main room we designed a bathroom with a panoramic shower with a glass wall facing the tropical rainforest.
Particular attention has been reserved, at the design stage, to energy efficiency. The genius loci has made us reflect on designing this house based on the basic principles of bioclimatic architecture that allow us to obtain a high standard of comfort through the control of well-being and health parameters such as air and light, temperature and humidity. The orientation and correct exposure of each space based on its own function together with the large glass surfaces, made with thermal systems to ensure optimum insulation, allow direct intervention on the air and light parameters allowing good cross ventilation and enjoyment of natural light in all the rooms of the house, reducing the use of artificial lighting. A water mirror that crosses the entire house in the longitudinal direction connecting the entrance with the pool area and social area allows controlling internal humidity, helping to cool the environment and reduce the use of air conditioning. On the other hand, the house also takes advantage of the rainwater collection for the drains of the sanitary services and for the irrigation system of the green spaces; the air conditioning system is high efficiency (VFR); the metalic structure of the project is prefabricated and bolted since it allows its total reuse. The sum of these parameters guarantee maximum comfort, contribute to considerably reducing the energy requirement and therefore make this project respectful of the environment and its context.