Refugio Urbano: a habitat for urban co-existence in Córdoba

In Argentina, a perforated brick screen protects and connects the intimate spaces of a house with the surrounding city.

Conceived as a real habitat-generating program, Refugio Urbano by Agustín Berzero and Valeria Jaros pushes the idea of embedding projects within fragmented urban contexts one step forward, shifting from the paradigm of mimesis to a position of co-existence.

Founded on an existing garage structure covering the entire area of the site, Refugio Urbano makes both a reference to the visual inputs coming from the surrounding urban environment and a complex statement of individuality: the graduated translucency of the exterior envelope defines a space for intimacy, but also a twofold connection (strong, and wisely filtered at the same time) between private and collective space.

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Agustín Berzero, Valeria Jaros, Refugio Urbano, Córdoba, Argentina, 2016

Refugio Urbano is created  out of a mixed-use program — housing + studio — wedged in a 9-by-16 metre site. By reinforcing the existing structure with concrete beams, to successively add a metal-framed volume, Berzero and Jaros articulate a tense sequence of spaces excavating the built mass and clearing the ground floor completely so it can host an architects’ studio. The excavations climb up the house in a spatial chain, defining two patios at different levels and culminating in the double height of the living area, an empty volume that can be filled with two additional rooms in case of need.

The general effectiveness of the dwelling experience is consolidated through the impressive perimetral filter, made by sliced block bricks, operating as an interface for both light and sight, but  most of all as a connection between the strong spirit of intimacy characteriaing the programme and the external life of the neighboring houses and streets. Berzero and Jaros furtherly explore such principle in their Casa FL project (Córdoba, 2017), bringing inhabited spaces — although protected — even closer to public space, and experimenting the use prefabricated concrete elements in the realization of a similar urban filter.

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Agustín Berzero, Valeria Jaros, Casa FL, Córdoba, Argentina, 2017
Refugio Urbano
Agustín Berzero, Valeria Jaros
Design team:
Edgar Moran (engineering)
Córdoba, Argentina

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