This is a house that I photographed back in February, that my dear friend Joseto Cubilla designed. He named it Arapytu that in Guarani translates to atmosphere.
Although I was born in Paraguay and studied our native language in school, I can't say that I understand it, nor that I speak Guarani, something that I profoundly regret. So I asked Joseto what the meaning of Arapytu is, and he explains that like all languages, although it translates as atmosphere, there's a little more to it. The word Ara, also means day, space, and weather. Pytu means breath but also dark. For the native guaranies, Arapytu is the ideal space to be, where there's light, but there is also shade. You see, the weather in Paraguay is 360 days of heat and five days of even more heat. So guaranies understood that they have to use shade as a mechanism to cope with extreme temperatures.
Joseto uses this principle to design this house. It is located in Surubi'i, an area 30 minutes away from the capital, Asuncion, with lush vegetation, an enormous variety of birds, and even monkeys that were very curious about our visit. He respects the presence of existing trees and locates the footprint in the spaces between them; some of them are even wrapped around the built environment, creating courtyards.
The material palette is straightforward, concrete slabs, brick walls, and wooden load-bearing columns. Natural stone on the floors and floor-to-slab windows opening to the majestic views of the surrounding nature.
Reflecting on the experience of inhabiting these spaces, although my stay was brief, it was clear that the boundaries between interior and exterior were blurred; at all times, I felt I was outside yet protected. It was a hot and humid day, but it felt fresh under the shade. The constant sound of birds and cicadas lull your senses, providing that hammock with hypnotic powers, as if living in nature under the magical space guaranies preferred, Arapytu.