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Casa Venturini

Adamo-Faiden

Casa Venturini
By Caterina Testa -

Renovation and refurbishment briefs of fairly old buildings of some historic note pose a real dilemma for architects: choosing between faithful restoration of what was there before, or reinterpreting and changing in accordance with contemporary style. The conservative yet contemporary refurbishment of the Venturini house in downtown Buenos Aires has achieved a happy compromise between these two extremes. Despite the modern-style extension, the essential identity and appearance of the building have been left unchanged.
The Venturini residence is located near the Abasto covered market in the old part of Buenos Aires. Like its neighbour, it has been put to many uses down the years, each successive phase leaving its mark on the building. Built like many town houses of its time to accommodate the owners in the front section and a tenant in the quarters overlooking the inner court, the residence went into decline with the rest of the old town, subsequently being divided up into a series of cheap lodgings.
Viewed from outside, the renovated building looks virtually unchanged. No blatant alterations have been made to the façade overlooking the street. The only visible changes - new shuttering and a clean-lined roof top elevation - testify to discreet, more intimate alterations inside.
The refurbishment programme can be described as having three phases: extraction, re-description and addition. The first - extraction - allowed a return to the building’s original spatial plan. Restored and now part of the new unit are the white and grey façade, the discreet interior stucco work, the wrought-iron decorations of the balustrades, the coloured glazed skylight above the staircase, and the creaky old parquet floors in the bedrooms - all reminiscent of a house where families once lived out their daily lives.
The second phase was the re-appropriation of these former spaces for contemporary domestic use. This was completed with the third -...

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