January 28, 2022

Blog @ Munaf Sheikh

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three interconnected staggered volumes shape house on slope in ecuador

‘casa en pendiente’ or ‘house on slope’


located in cumbaya, a rural community in ecuador‘s capital, ‘casa en pendiente’ or ‘house on slope’ seeks to respond to the multiple needs of its diverse users. designed for a family of four — formed by parents and two daughters — el sindicato arquitectura sought to build a dwelling that conforms to the girls’ high requirement of independence and privacy. to achieve this, the final composition presents itself as three staggered volumes that are highly segregated and independent of each other yet interconnected through a path. this path takes shape as an outstretched staircase wrapped in glass that simultaneously solves the steep slopes at ground level. 


the location of each space was defined by placing compatible volumes near each other according to the family routines. the design team formed intermediate gardens to maintain even more privacy without compromising the stunning views opening towards the ilalo volcano and the surrounding landscape, which was also enhanced by the staggered arrangement.
all images by andres.v.fotografia



three different blocks adhere to the family’s needs


the architects strategically divided the project into three main blocks: the superior volume consisted of the living room, dining room, and shared bathroom is placed next to the garage and the main entrance. the intermediate block receives the kitchen acting as the main space of the project. a place where the family gets together for cooking, eating, working, and interacting. the exterior part of the kitchen is meant to be a vegetable garden, a space for mingling with the family pets, and an external connector with the natural level of the existing ground. at the same block, with a minimum level difference, the parents’ bedroom is situated. there, the relation with the immediate garden is only visual, emphasizing the landscape visual projections.


finally, the lower block includes the two daughters’ bedrooms. both volumes have the same dimension but are resolved in a different way defined by their living routines. the first one prioritized an exterior contact receiving a balcony in the front part of the block. the other one prioritized the storage and self-care grooming rituals, so a huge dressing room is included in the back part of the volume.

three interconnected staggered volumes shape house on slope in ecuador
following the slope of the surrounding landscape



walkable rooftops


each volume holds its own garden that is resolved at the same level as its interior. the architects formed access to the intermediate block’s rooftop, allowing accessibility to all terraces in the project, giving a lot of exterior space. the path that joins those three unions becomes a stair corridor that is replicated on its rooftop as a structural strategy. as for the materiality, all lateral walls of the project (east-west) work as privacy elements and as thermal masses. el sindicato arquitectura selected reinforced cavity brick walls, designed in two brick rows with a concrete intermediate cavity of 5 cm. in this system, the role of the brick is to reduce the slenderness that would have a concrete wall of 5 cm, which is also used as formwork and exterior finish that in some cases, continues to the interior.



three interconnected staggered volumes shape house on slope in ecuador
a physical or visual connection with the immediate exterior

three interconnected staggered blocks shape house on slope in ecuador
intermediate gardens at the same level as the interior spaces

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