News
12.03.2012
House> P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S
Los Angeles architects build an innovative condo tower in Argentina.
A view of the condos from the street.
Gustavo Frittegotto

Los Angeles architects Marcelo Spina and Georgina Huljich’s hyphen-obsessed firm P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S represents one of the most innovative practices in the city. Its experiments with digital fabrication and composite materials are especially advanced because the company, unlike most, builds not only in LA, but also in China and in Spina’s native country, Argentina.

The most recent example is the firm’s Jujuy Redux condo project on a corner lot in Spina’s hometown of Rosario, Argentina. P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S developed the building with MSA, the firm of Spina’s brother Maxi, in the city’s rapidly developing Pichincha neighborhood.

 
The peek-a-boo lobby (left). The units views are shaped by the exterior walls (right).
 

They created an eight-story, 13,500-square-foot structure without a huge budget, and it’s not a luxury project. The two-bedroom units inside are small and simple, but beautiful. They are open and airy, with views enhanced by a system of large balconies that cantilever far away from the building, supported by swooping, paraboloid-shaped, poured-in-place concrete walls, These were formed on-site in digitally fabricated fiberglass molds at the same time as the building’s concrete framing so they are completely integrated with the structure.

Sidewalk view of the Jujuy Redux condo.
 

Much like at LA’s American Cement Building (home to this publication’s West Coast office), the balcony walls frame unique views of the city. Few developers today choose such a system over uninterrupted glass. But the framing offers privacy and much needed shade for large balconies and the interiors, protecting them from the hot Argentina sun. The framing’s perforated triangular patterns further this shading and help draw natural ventilation. And the large balconies end up serving as outdoor rooms.

 
A corner window inside a living unit (left).  The balconies provide semi-private outdoor rooms (right).
 

“We wanted to provide both moments—moments of exposure and moments of privacy,” Spina said.

The intricate triangular patterns also shape the building’s double-height lobby, creating intricate shadows and peek slots, as well as the luxurious rooftop sundeck, which is lined with dark hardwood. From the outside, a visually engaging facade emerges.

The name P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S might be difficult to type, but it makes sense, considering the firm’s obsession with shapes. And as the project shows, patterns can serve a purpose, visual, spatial, and climactic.

Sam Lubell

 

 
Exterior view (left). The rooftop deck (right). Detail of the front facade (below).