June 25 2013

The Case of the Puerto Roldán House: Paradoxical “New” Architecture

The Grand Prize for Architecture 2012, issued by FADEA (Argentine Federation of Organizations of Architects) and ARQ (the prestigious supplement by Clarin Architecture), has been awarded to the Puerto Roldán House in the outskirts of Rosario, Argentina. A design of Architects Maite Caballero and Gerardo Fernandez.

This ‘Grand Prize’ is a great effort that should be emphasized as very positive, as it gives recognition to the professional skills of architecture studios across Argentina. However, it seems necessary to point out some paradoxical facts that will maybe allow us to reflect and address the pressing challenges concerning architecture in our time.

While there are many categories and prizes, a “Grand Prize” is a symbol, primus inter pares, an acknowledgement to the rest of society about the state of the field.

Puerto Roldan House

This is where the greatest perplexity arises: the model that stands out from the rest of the winners is an individual house in a gated community on the outskirts of a city. This does not seem to be the best of recommendations for those looking at this award as a referent of the métier, or for society at large.

Architecture Plans-Puerto Roldan House

Beyond highlighting the formal austerity that the house represents, you have to recognize that this model implies an outdated urban planning typology. The house encourages low density neighbourhoods, and with it implies a negative environmental and social impact.

Today the vast majority of international academic and scientific views agree that compactness in urban areas is the logical thing to do. This very compactness is one of the factors that helps to facilitate the communication and exchanges which are, as we know, the essence of life in a community.

Puerto Roldan House rural

Therefore, individual housing has become the less environmentally efficient option, with the most energy, land and water being consumed. In addition, the car use from these individual houses involve high fossil fuel costs and CO2 emissions that exacerbate global warming. Finally, in our particular case, this land use is a real waste of the richest and most productive land in the world, at a time when obtaining food is vital for mankind.

Shouldn’t a Grand Prize in architecture take into account these issues? Are these not some of the challenges posed to the thousands of architecture students today?

Credits: Data and images linked to sources.

Luis Lozano-Paredes

Luis Lozano-Paredes is currently a student seeking a Diploma of Architecture and Urban Planning at Belgrano University in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Born in Colombia in 1987, he grew between the cities of Bogotá and Santiago de Cali, and then moved to Argentina in 2006. There, he finished the Common Basic Cycle of Architecture, Design, and Urbanism at the University of Buenos Aires before pursuing studies in Landscape Design at the same Institution. Inspired by the Urban Transformation of Bogotá in the past decades, his interests evolved from Landscape Architecture to his current passion; Urban Planning, Policy Making, and Sustainable Development. He plans to continue his studies in Urban Planning and Sustainability in Canada, Chile, or the U.S.; but for the moment he currently works as a Graduate Research Assistant at the Center of Metropolitan Transport Studies of the University of Buenos Aires and is a Member of the Observatory of Urban Sustainability at Belgrano University. Luis’ main interests lay within the study of Smart Cities, Urban Sustainable Development, and Social Architecture in Latin America.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 25th, 2013 at 9:32 am and is filed under Architecture, Environmental Design, Housing, Luis Lozano-Paredes, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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One Response to “The Case of the Puerto Roldán House: Paradoxical “New” Architecture”

  1. BryanAbrams | Studio City real Estate Says:

    Really unique architecture and the view from the house is just lovely

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