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  • A courtyard at the end of the road

    The new offices for TSHQ [a manufacturer and importer -its factory is located in Hong-Kong] would be located in an existing building, 200 mts form the Congress Palace in Buenos Aires, Argentina at the end of 2003. The newly acquired property is a second floor of 900 sqmts [a facade of 15 mts. and a length of 60 mts, the back facade has a patio of 16mts x 8.50 mts] in an area that is known for the riots, piqueteers and strikes demonstrations and is about 1km from the traditional area for its business.
    If architecture is about construction, it produces in a material fashion. Therefore, architecture is matter organized in some way. However, how this matter is articulated? The TSHQ project intends to address this issue.

    Design is associated with a variety of aspects and characteristics, which seem to contradict the common notion for research. It is in many ways an act of intuition, a non-linear, often “irrational” process. However, it is possible to research within the design field and precisely, one possible way of doing so is through design itself, bringing about objective and transmissible knowledge, as in any research. Thus, the project practice becomes, in turn, research.

    To achieve this end, emphasis should be laid on the process rather than on the product, which will be reached at the end of the road of research in its last stage, critically analyzing the manner in which work and design are conducted. Maps, diagrams, and catalogs are only some of the instruments used in research and design; avoiding or delaying the setting of aesthetic, stylistic or typological concepts, often stereotyped.

    While “‘Mapping’ is not a fixed image of territory nor the stratification of levels of its appearance. It is an open ‘dynamic map’ capable of infiltrating the reality and giving it new momentum. This process does not show an abstract projection but the possible development of the real”; the diagrams “introduces into a work qualities that are unspoken, disconnected from an ideal or an ideology, random, intuitive, subjective, not bound to linear logic-qualities that can be physical, structural, spatial or technical.”

    These maps and diagrams are barometers used simultaneously to measure data collected from reality, but also to exacerbate the potential of such as design material.
    The first step was to shape the project according to the program. Through the analysis of data given by the client (such as number of people working, what the circuit of the different employees should be, customers access, distance to administration within different parts of the program, etc), minimum and maximum measures, safety regulations, the clients desires and aspirations and last but not least our own desires and aspirations, the program was redefined and optimised.

    After this process, three different layouts were presented to the client. Once a proposal was chosen it remained the question of which material would be appropriate to this project and how to organize matter in this particular layout. The final decision was that the main material would be glass, as natural light from the patio was to be a fundamental issue in the project. Finally, the chosen material was U-Glass [ a material combining aesthetics, cost, and functionality] for the main divisions, plaster panels for the secondary divisions and micro cement for the floors. The offices would be done mainly in materials that are, in general terms, used in industrial facilities. This allowed us to question the relation between material and use and to the client to have a corporate image related to the manufacturing process.

    The client gave us complete freedom to explore the possibilities of the materials and we conclude that windows didn’t need to be a “whole in the wall” nor a “glass plane”; that a window could be the void left by the displacement of two U-Glass pieces; doors could follow the same logic, two U-Glass displaced a larger measure. After this “discovery” we mapped all the different angles and its possibilities in terms of lighting, privacy, noise, and perspectives and introduce this information in the previous diagrams.
    So the project was reshaped according to this last piece of information and the result is a fluid, lightened space [despite the 35mts, distance between the entrance and the patio] where one can slide along the project and smoothly enter through the doors all the time guided by the natural light shining from the back patio.


    client > Time Save SA
    location > 
    Congreso, Buenos Aires, Argentina
    site area > 
    – / –
    built area >
     800 m2 / 8.611 sqft
    project > 
    construction >
    status >

    authors > Víctor N. Najmias & Oliverio Najmias