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House on the River

Mar Del Plata, Argentina
1 of 15

The house is one of few built architectures of Amancio Williams. He designed it few years after graduation for his father, Alberto Williams, a composer and conductor. The building is located in a two hectare property in the outskirts of the city of Mar del Plata. The property was crossed by a stream. The 27 meters long house was built as a bridge that brought together the two banks of the stream. Williams incorporated the house into the landscape in a non intrusive way.


The geometric structure is reduced to three basic elements: the curved blade of the bridge, horizontal lines that guide the design of living and the level of the terrace. The ground floor has two entrances located at the points of support of the bridge. The transparency of this access contributes to the movement of the work, thanks to the large windows that reveal the stairs resting on the arch of the bridge. Since the 2ha terrain had its access on only one side and was divided in two sectors by the creek, the house represented the meeting point of the two sides of the land, an human artifact which harmoniously works with the existing natural conditions. The two entrances of the house coincide with the bridge abutments, two symmetrical stairs follow the bridge line and lead to the middle of the living area. This area occupies the whole lenght of the house (27m) and is lit by a Le Corbuserian horizontal window.

An important aspect of the building lies in its structural conception: a truly three-dimensional construction working as a harmonious whole. Through vertical partitions, the curved element works simultaneously with the flat slab floor and with the railing beams that surround it. These beams carry the cantilever and divert the weight of the slab and the thrust of the curved element to the foundations, through gates and walls.Reinforced concrete is, of course, the main material, and it even was studied in laboratory for the necessary testing; the exterior skin is exposed concrete treated chemically. The interiors are almost entirely built in wood boards, pre-assembled as a complete set in a carpentry workshop, then dismantled and finally reassembled on site.

World Monument Watch

After Alberto Williams's death the house changed hands, and it was later used as the headquarters of a local radio station. An ownership dispute has led to abandonment and prolonged neglect since the early 1990s. The house was vandalized, and in 2004 a fire destroyed much of the interior. The building was included on the 2012 World Monuments Watch.

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bostjan, January 31st, 2019
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