Excerpt: Casa Scout, designed by BAAG – Buenos Aires Arquitectura Grupal, creates a versatile and inclusive space for different uses by the young scouts. The building is in constant dialogue with the outside: nature and its surroundings are present in all the interior spaces. The main challenges of the project were to create a new urban image for the institution and to make it coexist with its surroundings, mostly comprised by typical low-height houses.
[Text as submitted by architect] Casa Scout is located in a typical 8,66 meter-wide plot in the urban fabric of Buenos Aires in a consolidated and low density neighborhood. The project has the will to create a versatile and inclusive space that allows different uses by the young scouts. The building is in constant dialogue with the outside: nature and its surrounding are present in all the interior spaces. Special interest was given to materials, design and means of production of the building, in order to achieve sustainability criteria and an economy of means.
The main challenges of the project were to create a new urban image for the institution and to make it coexist with its surroundings, mostly comprised by typical low-height houses. The new building aligns with its neighbor’s heights in order to create a uniform urban front. The variety of plants used in the project’s façade creates a dynamic envelope that changes throughout the year and creates a shifting urban setting.
The project is clearly laid out around a central vertical space of various heights and interlocking voids that grows from the ground floor and upon which all rooms view, expand and relate to. All interior partitions are made by wooden cabinets and can be opened and moved according to the scouts activities, enhancing the interaction and communication between the users. The different scout branches, organized by age, are hosted in a series of overlapping slabs of different shapes and sizes, while the ground floor has a seamless relationship out to the building’s backyard through sliding windows. Each space of the house possess a unique identity with shifting qualities, which creates a ludic and dynamic atmosphere that evokes play, participation, and social interaction.
All the rooms are fully open towards the outside through sliding windows and with wooden openings to the inside. Each space receives daylight and has views either towards the street or the backyard. Over the central void, a skylight in the pitched roof lights the rest of the interiors. During summer months, the building takes advantage of cross ventilation – during winter, a series of heaters located below the sliding windows are used.
A green envelope runs through the whole building, from the front façade to the backyard and through the roof. This green envelope grows upon an metal mesh that works as a fence for protection as well. The mesh is made from manually folded and welded iron bars, typically used for concrete slabs. All the vegetation, comprised by Commelina erecta, Fuchsia magellanica, Macfadynea unguis-cati, Podranea ricasoliana and Pyrostegia ventusta, was planted by the young scouts on planters placed on each floor as well as on the backyard and on the side walk. This skin works, at the same time, as a solar filter, a brise soleil and as thermic isolation, but most importantly it recreates a natural scenery reminiscent of the spirit of being under a tree.