Vivienda Luce y Pablo / Mínimo Común Arquitectura

Architects: Mínimo Común Arquitectura
Area: 200 m²
Year: 2021
Photography: Federico Cairoli
Engineering: Felipe Ramirez
Program / Use / Building Function: Residential
City: Mariano Roque Alonso
Country: Paraguay

Luce and Pablo’s House, designed by Mínimo Común Arquitectura in Mariano Roque Alonso, Paraguay, was completed in 2021. The residential project is located in the Surubi’i neighborhood of Limpio and features ecological construction techniques, including rammed earth, aligning with the region’s climate. The design caters to the needs of the newlywed couple who work remotely. The house blends suburban tranquility with proximity to urban amenities.

Vivienda luce y pablo / mínimo común arquitectura

On January 23, 2020, a typical hot summer morning in Asunción, Paraguay, with temperatures around 29 ℃ at 8:30 am, a call came into the Mínimo Común Arquitectura’s office in the Ricardo Brugado neighborhood, known as the Chacarita neighborhood. Solanito answered the call from Pablito, who wanted to discuss the house they talked about after soccer the previous day. This began a determined friends’ journey to build a future home.

Pablo, an Uruguayan, and Luce, a Paraguayan with relatives in Uruguay, are a newly married couple. Both graphic designers, work remotely for companies abroad. Their house is located in Limpio, Surubi’i neighborhood, 45 minutes from Asunción by private transport. This location offers suburban tranquility with ample terrain and vegetation while remaining close enough for daily and social activities. The neighborhood’s building boom, governed by strict regulations, conditioned the project’s approval by the neighborhood council.

Vivienda luce y pablo / mínimo común arquitectura

Mínimo Común Arquitectura’s recent discussions have focused on current housing conditions and ecological construction techniques gaining popularity in Paraguay. Educated in brick and adobe construction, the architects experimented with rammed earth due to its suitability for the local climate and successful use by colleagues and friends. The project’s urban setting allowed access to more resources compared to their previous projects in the country’s interior.

Vivienda luce y pablo / mínimo común arquitectura

When conducting initial tests, we realized the construction process was lengthy and required additional resources, such as more personnel, pneumatic rammers, special formwork, and stronger lintels. This caused disappointment as costs exceeded standards, and the budget was limited. This led to the reflection: Is sustainable architecture only accessible to those with sufficient purchasing power? We remained committed to building for Luce and Pablo, prompting new experiments.

Vivienda luce y pablo / mínimo común arquitectura

Our craftsmen, led by Mr. Eusebio, showcased exceptional skill in building the formwork. Eusebio, his family, friends, and others worked tirelessly, with breaks for tereré, to complete the work. They unloaded props and boards, and the symphony of saws and hammers continued until they prepared the ceiling for concrete.

Vivienda luce y pablo / mínimo común arquitectura

The mission involved covering the horizon with hollow prismatic wooden walls as formwork. Eusebio and his colleagues completed this artisanal task in a few hours. Modulating each wall with standard commercial wood cuts saved time. Each module measured 2.40 x 2.40 meters from floor to ceiling, with a thickness of 15 to 20 centimeters, optimizing material use.

The project, with its twists and turns, consisted of simple volumetry without many structural risks: an L-shaped body nestled among vegetation. The western sun illuminated the house’s most closed part in the afternoon, while the spacious living room, kitchen, and dining room were lit in the morning. The design prioritized cool bedrooms for rest and comfort, with plans to expand the family. Earthen walls protected intimate areas, and an orchard, supported by fine metal pillars and cultivated by the owners, provided sustenance for little Agus.

After many mistakes, we learned a new technique. We made small tests to stabilize the soil, achieving resistance similar to brick. With a small team, we manually loaded two modules per day, using dosages similar to concrete with 10% cement. Gradually, we reduced the cement to 5%. Although other stabilizers with less impact were available, they were not easily accessible locally, and we did not want to take further risks, considering the family’s need for their home.

The Guarani pottery tradition, which created the kambuchi, a clay pitcher molded by Paraguayan women to transport ykua water and keep it fresh for men working in the heat, inspired our approach.

Similarly, we aimed to offer a house born from traditional Guarani red soil, molded by our artisans at a reasonable cost using the poured soil technique. Though common worldwide, it had never been used in Paraguay. The outcome was uncertain, but our effort was steadfast.

Vivienda luce y pablo / mínimo común arquitectura

House of Luce & Pablo was built from the dreams of a couple starting their life together, desiring a functional and lifelong space. The design, crafted with clay and the scent of soil after rain, reflects their trust in creating a unique home.

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Project Location

Address: Surubi’i Neighborhood, Limpio, Mariano Roque Alonso, Paraguay

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