The Figueras Polo Stables are located northwest of the City of Buenos Aires, in a rural area where the horizon always feels far away. The vastness of the existing landscape, which is that of the infinite pampas, becomes both the perfect natural scenario for the practice of polo and the very essence of the project’s design.
The poetic horizontality of the local flatlands seems to be emulated by every aspect of the plan and by every element of the building. This is expressed by the lines of the roofs of the two building volumes, which from afar appear as one single composition, the linearity of the free-standing walls that outline private gardens in front of the social areas and, especially, the manner in which the architectural layout is adapted to the existing trees.
A broad and luxurious avenue lined by London plane trees is the point of origin for the design concept. It defines the walking circuits for horses and conditions the building’s formal articulation. Differentiated into two separate volumes which, combined, house 44 stalls plus horse grooming and training facilities, the building’s shape was designed by responding to the positions of existing trees.
The shapes are also present, as reflections, within an expansive shimmering pool lined with locally-sourced cobblestones. Positioned exactly in front of a large living room, the pool becomes an extension of the indoor area and serves as a continuation of the many overlapping outdoor and indoor spaces.
The building’s front elevation overlooks the polo field (270 by 150 meters) and the rear elevation envelopes the groomer’s quarters and work facilities.
The concrete roofs seem like floating planes protruding from the sloped landscape and serve both as access area and as platform for watching the polo matches. The recessed second volume is shuttered from direct sunlight by a series of reddish-coloured louvers. These vertical, patinated corten steel panels also demarcate the pathways for horses and help preserve a sense of quietness and privacy.
Tiny, but essential design details
The maintenance of the horses’ health and physical appearance is of paramount importance in this place. For this reason, the site required very careful planning and incorporated areas for resting, feeding, exercising, bathing and drinking. Even tiny, but essential design details such as the ironwork for the stall doors are custom items intended to support every-day operational aspects and to ensure a low degree of maintenance. For every set of stalls and located at opposite sides of the floor plan, there is one elevated infinite pool built of exposed concrete that horses can drink from. This architectural composition – almost sculptural – provides a sense of seclusion that is strong, yet paradoxically inviting. In a literal and definitive sculptural statement, a seductive concrete spiral staircase leads to the floating rooftop above. Entirely covered by native grass, the large horizontal roof terraces seem to blend into the environment.
The views from this elevated platform with its natural ambience are overwhelming.
Location: Gral. Rodríguez, Buenos Aires
Architects: Estudio Ramos: Juan Ignacio Ramos & Ignacio Ramos
Total Area: 3,600 m2
Date of completion: 2017
Photography: Daniela Mc Adden