Victor Hugo PH –which stands for Spanish ‘Propiedad Horizontal’- is located in Victor Hugo Avenue, the only street which bears the features of an avenue in Ostende. Placed in the central area of Pinamar County, this multifamily building pretends to become a point of development as it stands in the most populous part of the city. This sector contrasts with other highly consolidated and high quality urban areas –mostly chosen by tourists in high season- which offer well-equipped infrastructure, services and good access to urban facilities. Ostende mostly attracts tourist investment projects; however, the program proposed permanent residences and retail stores. The lot presented a steep slope in Victor Hugo Avenue. This inspired a stepped layout so as not to abruptly modify the current topography. The access from the street was secured -in all the levels and possible entrances- by a type of molded concrete flooring that accompanies the levels of the original dune without producing brusque changes of levels. Its location, scale and hallmark turns the building in Victor Hugo Avenue into a reference point and meeting place in a city which, until now, lacked attractive urban landmarks. The continuity of the sidewalk, the semi-covered spaces –which provide shade in summer as well as protection from rain throughout the year- along with the urban furniture –not completed yet- and the liberation of the corner were all decisions taken to ensure social gatherings.
Over the stores, the building crowns itself in two dwelling-levels which hang over the corner empowering both the building itself and the empty space below it. The entrance hall is a space designed to spend a moment and not just to pass through it to go to the residences. It incorporates the three heights and, as a result, highlights the connection between the different levels. The verticality is emphasized by two skylights in the roof. The access to the dwelling units is given by cantilevered trays added to the main volume. Their hierarchical disposition produces a sensorial experience as the environment can be fully perceived by not being obstructed by vertical parameters. The eleven housing units include studio apartments, one and two-bedroom apartments and a duplex. They offer different options for a developing community and try to generate a space in which different kinds of families may choose to live in. The games of lights and shadows come back as a topic to be treated in this project. Changing spatial perceptions are created by the treatment of pergolas, perforated concrete brisolei and trellised mezzanines. The details are characterized by a formal austerity, economy of materials and low maintenance cost of the building: concrete handrails, galvanized metal trellised mezzanine floors and glass brick walls were designed. The entire work shows a sincere materiality. The concrete shows externally what it is like internally and it functions as a witness of the hands that made it. Each mark or ‘imperfection’ works as a reminder of the human factor that created it.