Evolving from the era of simple shacks with minimal amenities, the modern summer house has become a typology of its own, integrating many of the luxuries and beautiful architectural features of full-time residences on a smaller scale. These days, they aren’t even limited to wood construction, though you might think you’re looking at bark textures as you approach the H3 House in Mar Azul, a sub-section of coastal Buenos Aires. That’s because architect Luciano Kruk used textured wooden forms to cast the concrete elements of the holiday home, balancing walls of glass to create an appearance that’s simultaneously airy and monumental.
Architect Luciano Kruk conceived H3 House as a compact block with connected interior spaces that enable both privacy and social engagement, all with a natural sense of flow as you move from one room to the next. The desires of three sisters and their families were taken into consideration as a collaborative effort for the minimalist home, which they take turns sharing during the milder months of the year. Though their budget was small, they envisioned a place with room for them all to rest and relax while enjoying the tranquil mood of the forest.
Located eight blocks from the sea on a modest, 210-square-meter corner plot, the H3 House is designed to make the most of the beautiful location and the parcel’s dimensions. The use of exposed concrete kept the need for large equipment on-site at a minimum to avoid disturbing the natural setting, and the use of pine planks in the formwork helps the home thematically blend into the landscape. Since the site is shaded and private, there was no need to shield the two side walls with their floor-to-ceiling glass from the sun and passersby. The large windows diffuse dappled natural daylight throughout the interior and look out onto the surroundings.
A generously sized master bedroom shares a bathroom with a smaller, cabin-like room appropriate for the younger generation. The master bedroom opens up outwards onto a semi-covered outdoor area, where the owners and their guests can take in the scenery even during a light rain.
The wood texture provided by the concrete forms gives the interiors the feeling of a traditional cabin, yet the overall design is open and minimalist, never feeling dark or cramped. The glass on both ends enables sight lines straight through the bottom floor, enhancing the feeling of being embraced by nature. Concrete requires far less maintenance than wood and will likely last much longer, so the cabin could end up becoming a family heirloom that can be passed from one generation to the next.
“Given the house’s scale, the use of crossed views and vanishing points aimed at unifying and fluidifying the space in the room,” says the architect.
“When we designed this floor plan, we aimed at making it feel both like an indoor space, sheltered by the roof and the windows, but at the same time, somewhere in between a continuum with the outside. In this way, the layout of the house is a result of an architectural synthesis of the sisters’ intentions and desires. In its minimum scale, the house rises by its own will, but also integrates itself respectfully with its surroundings, both natural and human-built.”