A Forest in Quito

Architect Aquiles Jarrín was hired to transform this 1970s apartment, located in the historical Center of Quito, Ecuador.

The owners stressed the importance of generating less defined spaces so the apartment was stripped right back to its bear elements. All partition walls and decoration were removed to reveal the concrete and brick underneath. Also, a strong presence of nature inside the apartment was desired.

First of all, the interior walls were demolished and the entrance of air and light was amplified, allowing the architect to introduce planters; the walls were replaced by glass openings with access to the patio, reconfiguring the space and transforming this non-place into a green space, releasing nature and light.

Without walls, the columns of the concrete structure acquired a strong presence, inviting to work with this element as a basic unit of the project, while a more poetic dimension was brought in: the columns were no longer seen as such, but as tree trunks.

This transformation of the space was defining for the entire design and understanding of the project. The idea arose that they were not in a domesticated space, but were entering a wilder world, “a forest”.

If the columns were trees and the space a forest, only other trees could appear in this scenario; some fallen other superposed, as it usually happens in nature.

New elements were generated with this same size and a playful and experimental exercise begun, until a series of relationships were found to solve the needs of habitability. By overlapping  “the trunks” new floor levels were created and an interior topography occurred.

These new elements were designed with three faces and an interior void, giving it a characteristic of furniture, becoming a multifunctional piece, where a book, bread or shoes could be located.

Metal was the most suitable material, allowing both, for a versatile use and the development of all the project’s elements.

The brutality of the materials presents the project in an unfinished state of work or as a modern ruin, in tension with the purity of lines and the finishing given by the the black metal elements.

The project “A forest”; is a world in constant discovery. The textures, levels and elements that float and traverse invite one to reinvent the forms of use and appropriation of space….not least, in the mini indoor pool.

Photography by JAG Studio

Architecture & Design by Aquiles Jarrín

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