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ARQ (Santiago)

versión On-line ISSN 0717-6996

ARQ (Santiago)  no.104 Santiago abr. 2020 

Works & projects

Commodore Building

Planta Studio

Irene Joselevich1 

Ana Rascovsky2 

1Arquitecta, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

2Profesora, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina.


In the old planning code of Buenos Aires, the buildable area depends on a factor by which the land floor-area is multiplied. However, this figure does not consider the non-roofed exterior spaces, which opens up new design opportunities to obtain larger salable floor-areas. This building shows a way to exploit this possibility through apartments with large ‘free’ terraces.

Keywords: laws; building; opportunity; building code; project

Source: © Javier Agustín Rojas

Figure 1 

T his building originates both from the proposal to live in the hybrid ‘apartment with garden’ type and from a condition present in the old planning code of Buenos Aires. This code was governed by the FOT (factor de ocupación de terreno or land occupation factor): a factor that multiplies land area to obtain the percentage of salable meters. The price of the land is fixed based on this number, but the FOT does not apply to roof-less exterior spaces, thus, if the built mass is organized through terracing, more salable meters are obtained without paying extra.

Source: © Javier Agustín Rojas

Figure 2 

Figure 3 Site plan. Scale 1: 2.000 

Source: © Javier Agustín Rojas

Figure 4 

The building is situated on a 45 m long plot. This length allowed the entire building to be terraced, generating large sunny balconies, overlooking, towards the north, a wide and wooded boulevard. The concept that shapes the project is the stacking of seven houses, all different from each other, with large exterior spaces and a lot of perimeter in contact with the outside, which is its central characteristic. The configuration of the terraces articulates the building, pulled back on each floor to obtain the maximum sun and views possible. On the horizontal plane, the first level units have a large backyard while the upper units have a private green roof.

Figure 5 First to third floor plans. 

Figure 6 Fourth floor to rooftop plans. 

The project has a variety of exterior spaces, some produced by overlapping plate volumes, shaping sheltered exteriors integrated with indoor spaces: semi-covered private-access patios, vegetation porches, and large green balconies or hot tubs surrounded by planters with native plants. These exteriors create a microclimate that controls the temperature against glazed surfaces. The rainwater collected by the terraces is reused for cleaning and irrigation in common areas. The flooring is green, contains grass and crawling plants that provide a 10-centimeter insulating earth mattress. In addition, they delay the drainage of the surplus of water to the rainwater-network system. A pergola with vines on top produces a shadow for sun protection.

Figure 7 Longitudinal section AA. S. 1: 200 

Figure 8.East elevation and Section BB. 

Figura 9 Sections CC and DD. 

The apartments reduce in size floor to floor, so that each one is different, even before being customized for each client. One of the apartments has a tree on its balcony, two have grass, and two have hot tubs. The silhouettes of the sidewalls were designed in response to the bordering buildings without generating an aggressive wall, but an object. Vertically, the exterior walls have double insulation: a white exterior sheet favors solar reflectance and an interior brick wall with an air chamber allows air circulation in between.

Source: © Javier Agustín Rojas

Figure 10 

From its conception, this kind of architecture promotes a way of life in relation to the outdoors and nature, but within the city - with all that this implies. There’s no need to use a car to get around or live far away in a closed neighborhood to have nature and security.

Source: © Javier Agustín Rojas

Figure 11 

Commodore Building

Architects: PLANTA (Irene Joselevich, Ana Rascovsky)

Contributors: Florencia Rissotti, Fernanda Torres, Victoria Sabaino

Location: Avenida Rivadavia Commodoro 1752, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Client: Refugio Desarrollos

Structural engineering: Estudio Fainstein

Construction: Bracar

Sanitary: Bracar

Lighting design: Arturo Peruzzotti

Landscape: Hector Viñolo

Materials: Reinforced structural concrete, pre-painted white plates, granite floors, exposed concrete and plasters

Built area: 1.000 m2

Site area: 400 m2

Project year: 2017

Construction year: 2018-2019

Photography: Javier Agustín Rojas

Visual work: dotbox


Irene Joselevich. Architect, Universidad de Buenos Aires (FADU-UBA, 1968). She was a tenured professor at the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Urbanism of the Universidad de Buenos Aires (1983-1989) and a researcher in the area of Urban and Architectural Heritage Cataloging of the City of Buenos Aires (1984-1995), in the same institution. She has published several books about the architectural heritage of the neighborhoods of Buenos Aires, as well as a city architecture guide. Among its awards, is worth noting the contest “New Green Areas for Puerto Madero and the Revitalization and Valorisation of the Costanera Sur.” She currently co-directs the PLANTA architecture studio with Ana Rascovsky.


Ana Rascovsky. Architect, Universidad de Buenos Aires (FADU-UBA, 1996). Master, Berlage Institute Rotterdam (Holland, 2002). Master, L’Ecole d’Architecture de Versailles (France, 2001). She has been a tenured professor at the Universidad Torcuato Di Tella (2014-2016) and at the Universidad de Palermo (2006-10), and has been invited to universities and institutions in Italy, Chile and Curaçao. She is currently a professor at the Universidad de Buenos Aires. She has exhibited her work at the Venice Biennale, the São Paulo Biennale, Kuala Lumpur, Cambodia and Peru. She is a founding member of Supersudaca - Think Tank of international architecture and urban planning and co-directs the architecture studio PLANTA with Irene Joselevich

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