Casa BB, designed by Argentina based BAK Architects and located in the middle of a forest, is simple, spacious and beautiful – but not in a cabin-house way.
This home, located in the Mar Azul forest in Buenos Aires, Argentina, looks like something that sprouted out of the ground after a hearty monsoon. So swathed is it in the arid browns of the forest, that it is difficult to believe that it was actually thought up by a modern architectural firm.
The BB House was designed by BAK Arquitectos keeping a close watch at the most minute detail specified by the client. The family wanted a home in the midst of the forest, an escape not too escapist; a home not too like or unlike the ones around. In short, they wanted familiar difference.
This was the tall order BAK was expected to deliver on, and the team has done wonders with the final product. Mostly regular, and sometimes leftover, building materials were used to construct a warm, approachable tree-house-like home that would serve the family not just once, but on many occasions through the year.
The success of the BB House is in its tenor; it is so in sync with the forest hues that it looks like it belongs there completely. That’s the first demand fulfilled. The spatial divisions had to be specific here – there was to be a large bedroom with a large private bathroom, and a separate section for twin bedrooms with a shared bathroom. The architect team decided to mark this demarcation by playing on the natural undulation on the ground here.
The large bedroom sits lower than the space holding the twin bedrooms, giving it a slight autonomy from the rest of the home. The family was insistent on not wanting a space that looked dramatically different from the rest of the houses in the area. So the team stuck to using exposed concrete as the primary material, mixing it with glass, and pine wood for furniture and support structures. A lot of the leftover wood was used to build half wooden walls. This marked an important, but subtle, break-in style that the clients had hoped BAK would deliver.
The two sections of the home, standing perpendicular to each other, are surrounded by plenty of foliage to roll around in with only pine trees as the resolute onlookers. The home is perched such that it has the best of the forest views, but isn’t so buried out of sight as to be lost. It is a re-assuring arrangement for urbane vacationers. The water tank has been built under the main bedroom, while the heating duties are taken up by the fireplace, bottled gas stoves and electric stoves.
The kitchen is of specific importance for the family, so it has a character quite of its own. Instead of being an enclosed space, cut off from the rest of the rooms, the cooking area here is open and seamlessly linked to the spacious social area. Concrete-topped counters and table define its hue, with the main end facing a beautiful view of the forest though a large glass window. Most other fixtures are non-flashy steel, except a bright orange lamp head hanging over the dining table. Rest of this extended area is the couch and the television corner, so the convivial socialising can continue across the whole section, firmly out of view from the bedrooms.
Doors, terraces and balconies readily offer the residents a chance to step off into the forest at all times. The general feel of the place is thus of continuity with the natural surroundings. This convenient commune with nature does not dissipate come night, thanks to the lighting scheme which is more like a warm candle-glow than a fluorescent flash.
The interiors of the home offer both relaxed luxury and non-fussy restraint. The walls are mostly bare, the lights have been fitted only where necessary, the forest views are inescapable everywhere, and there is a nice bright cosy chair available if the mood may so demand.
Casa BB may take after the simple charms of a cabin house, but it clearly does not want to wear that identity on its sleeve. At this house, care has been taken to define resting and social areas, at the same time keeping their interactions with the outside constant. There is a special section to store beach play items, and any prying gaze is kept far away.
This was not meant to be a permanent home in the begining but seeing the resultant happy mix of comfort and leisure it could very well become that.