The Black House is located in the small mountain town of La Calera just outside of Córdoba. AR Arquitectos, a local studio, was commissioned by a family to create the 550-square-metres Argentinian home.
“The principal idea was to break with the traditional premises,” said the studio. “Our attention was placed on the choice of concrete as the protagonist material in all its senses.”
The black-stained concrete used for the exterior walls creates a strong visual impact and gives the house a sense of solidity and permanence.
The two-storey structure is located on a steep slope so the lower floor needed to be partially sunken into the ground.
From the exterior, a set of steps leads down to the main entrance, while cars park down a ramp into a garage that is configured like a breezeway and offers sightlines through the home.
The home’s communal areas are combined into an open-concept layout on this lower level. Visitors enter through the centre of the home, which opens out to views of the surrounding mountains through tall, sliding glass walls.
“The ground floor, undermined in the terrain, gives visitors the experience of going through the project and framing the views it suggests,” said AR Arquitectos.
“The interior and exterior merge thanks to the permeability that is achieved through large glazed surfaces, with window-doors that connect the interior space with a large gallery, pool, the garden, and the view,” the studio added.
A covered area at the back of the house allows visitors to enjoy the outdoors while still enjoying some protection from direct sunlight.
Near the garage, there is a double-height area that contains the staircase, which is made of monolithic wooden treads anchored into the structural concrete wall.
“The staircase is one of the main elements, with the idea of expressing a material’s lightness over the robustness of another material, such as black concrete,” AR Arquitectos explained.
Upstairs, there are two bedrooms and a home office laid out along a corridor. Each of these spaces enjoys views of the city of Córdoba. Additionally, the primary bedroom opens out onto a terrace.
The materials used for the interiors contrast the black concrete aesthetic of the exterior walls.
AR Arquitectos used a wood named Kiri, also known as Paulownia, for the slatted screens that cover the windows facing the street.
The primary bedroom is entirely lined in wood panelling, including some textured panels that provide some visual interest to the walls.
This species of wood can be stronger than typical pine boards, while also being lighter.
Córdoba is a mountainous area in Argentina. Other projects in the area include a dramatically cantilevered home that is wrapped in wooden slats at its perimeter and a stone house that is meant to look like a ruined medieval town.
The photography is by Gonzalo Viramonte.