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Casa libélula

Berson- Sardin

Delta Rio Paraná, Provincia de Buenos Aires, Argentina

December 2023


Barbara Berson (Autor), Horacio Sardin (Autor)


Enrique Viola (Electrical and plumbing consultant), ING. CLAUDIO GONZÁLEZ GIRARDI (Engineer), Leonardo Giovo (Drawing)


Barbara Berson Horacio Sardin


Albano Garcia


The house was designed and is inhabited by its authors, architects, and university professors. This allowed the construction process to become a workshop for experimentation for visiting students.
Three bodies articulated by a connecting element compose the house. A larger volume hosts the public area with the living room, dining room, and kitchen; while two other bodies contain the private areas with bedrooms.
The ends of the three solids that make up the house dematerialize and transform into spatial windows, with transparent roofs and sides. Like a ship advancing towards the natural landscape with panoramic views. These windows allow us to capture the surrounding environment while their depths allow us to inhabit them.
An ascending and descending platform system forms a dynamic landscape, an architectural promenade that runs through and traverses the house. A diagonal path crosses the house and connects it with two canals on both fronts. The skewed accesses generate skewed views of the house that change with the zigzag ascent delineated by the wooden platforms. The ascending accesses with the succession of platforms propose a dilated tempo, which distinguishes it from the rhythm of contemporary life. Slowing down allows us to discover the house slowly emerging among the dense foliage. The three shadow overhangs are part of this platform system, floating above the house and becoming viewpoints to the landscape.


Like a dragonfly perched on the earth, slender stilts elevate the house to protect it from water surges. The house unfurls its wings from glazed fronts that protrude outward integrally.
The vernacular housing of these lands, surrounded by galleries, is reinterpreted with a new geometry. The entire house becomes a grand gallery of shadows. Through the integral ejection of windows outward, all interior spaces are transformed into shaded areas with cross breezes, making the house suitable for navigating warm summers.
There is a house at ground level, an intermediate house with interior spaces, and an upper house for viewing the sky and trees. Full shade, controlled light, and total light succeed vertically.
The lower stratum is used on the hottest days, featuring a shaded garden with a small wooden floor and Paraguayan hammocks. It's the ideal spot for naps and lunches in summer. Floods from the river's water level inundate it, transforming it into an aquatic landscape. It represents a close bond with nature and its cycles, with the earth and water.
The intermediate level is where daily living occurs. With a predominance of horizontal space, it visually integrates with the landscape on both fronts. The landscape permeates it, creating the sensation of floating amidst the forest.
The upper level represents a connection to the distant landscape, a place for ecstatic contemplation and meditation. It hovers over the forest, allowing us to reconnect with the distant horizon.


The house has been built by local workers native to the islands, combining the popular experience of working with wood with new technological innovation proposed by the authors.
ECOLOGICAL ARTIFACT The house is conceived as an ecological artifact that can respond to climatic demands with a series of design systems and devices. At its core, the house contains a set of passive energy-saving systems to achieve the necessary climate comfort. This requires active participation from the house's inhabitants. Multilayer walls and the exempt load-bearing structure avoid thermal bridges, and double-glazed windows provide highly effective insulation. Cross-ventilation and the transformation into a gallery house are made possible by ejecting the windows outward. The use of small hatches with perforations in the side walls generates transverse air currents. The four glass ends of the house become winter gardens, capturing heat through the greenhouse effect for the cold season. A wooden decking overhangs the house, casting shade over the entire roof. Wood-burning fireplaces are used for heating. Solar water heating saves energy. The use of synthetic paints and varnishes has been avoided. The entire wooden structure and decks are untreated, allowing for oxidation. The vertical envelopes of the house employed the technique of wood burning to avoid future maintenance.

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