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Casa B


Caimito, Artemisa, Cuba

December 2022


Anadis González Márquez (Principal Architect), Fernando Antonio Martirena Cordovés (Principal Architect)


David Medina Campos (Technical Achitect), Yosuany Almaguer Miranda (Structural Engineer)


Igor Magraner Roque


Laurian Ghinitoiu


The brief was to design a house much larger than a pre-existing one. Instead, aligned with building regulations and the environmental context, we decided to preserve the illusion of a small house that did not compete with the landscape.

Since it is a weekend house in a beautiful setting, it had to be completely open to the outside. This would allow the views to become part of the house's design while generating enough ventilation to do without air conditioning. Yet the house had to have enclosures to protect it from tropical storms and to lock it down when uninhabited.

To tackle the different constraints, we borrowed three typologies from traditional Cuban architecture: the aboriginal barbacoa, where a bedroom on stilts acts as a roof for everyday activities; the Spanish patio-house, where light and ventilation come through an interior patio; and the tobacco shed, where a single texture wraps up the entire space. Thus, in B house, the ground floor's common areas exist in a space without columns because the main bedroom acts as a roof. The guest bedrooms are hidden underground while illuminated by an extended, narrow patio. Folding panels of palm wood make up the texture wrapping the house. Since the logging of palm trees is prohibited, the wood comes from dead palms and dismantled rural buildings.


The house is built on a slim cove by Cuba's north shore in the tiny fishing town of Banes. Its design was conceived in a sumptuous landscape, a humble neighborhood, and a forbidding regulatory and legal environment.

The house had to strictly mimic the typology of a pre-existing house on the same site, which had been demolished due to its poor condition. Preserving the 14x14 m perimeter, a single level, a gable roof, an elevation above ground level and a wraparound porch was the design's a-apriori condition.

The house's northerly orientation favors airflow, which is desirable in a tropical climate, while its proximity to the sea adds a threat of corrosion and exposure to hurricanes.


We built a small palm board house that hides a larger one made of concrete and glass. At first glance, it is possible to overlook the tobacco shed's appearance, followed by the discovery of its domesticity.

The house will be crafted from simple raw materials —glass, wood, and artisanal concrete— which will be left unpolished, to reduce finishing and maintenance costs. The house's structure is its only ornament, complemented by a lush garden that is integrated into and surrounds the house.

The slits between the folding panels of palm wood making up the exterior texture, slow the winds during storms to protect the interior glass façade. The two layers, palm wood boards and glass panels, permit a wide range of opening and closing options and different intensities of natural light filtering during the day.

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