Marcelo and Maxi Spina were born and raised—and studied architecture—in the town of Rosario, Argentina, which is about 200 miles west and north of Buenos Aires. Today, the brothers are based in Los Angeles: Maxi, 36, at the head his eponymous practice, Maxi Spina Architects, and Marcelo, Intl. Assoc. AIA, 42, as principal of design firm P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S. Together, los hermanos Spina have teamed up for a number of projects, and their collaborative approach starts from a shared sense of architectural invention. “Our working method is one that seeks for areas … in which we can innovate,” Maxi says, and sometimes the greatest opportunities lie in situations “where we need to accept convention.”

Their latest joint venture, undertaken with Marcelo’s partner in P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S, Georgina Huljich, is a residential mid-rise in Rosario that demonstrates exactly how the team effects a balance between novelty and custom. Jujuy Redux, so named because it is the team’s second project on Jujuy Street, is an eight-story, 13,500-square-foot luxury apartment building located in the former industrial district of Pichincha. The area is seeing an influx of new residents, while the city as a whole is undergoing a boom in construction as local investors look for safe bets in an uncertain economy.

Jujuy’s creamy, contemporary exterior is certainly in line with one’s expectations for a speculative development in an emerging neighborhood: The modern aesthetic and on-site facilities—a sleek rooftop sundeck and marble floors among them—provide all the trimmings of a tony urban shelter geared toward young and youthful cosmopolitans. Yet it is one of the building’s ostensibly more banal amenities that makes it really stand out.

Balconies are common enough in residential buildings worldwide—they’re especially popular in Argentina, observes Marcelo, where the “climate tends to be super, super hot” in the summer—but the designers wanted the balconies connected to Jujuy’s 13 apartment units to be different. It was here, they felt, that they had their opportunity to innovate.

With the somewhat wary blessing of their client, the architects deployed a unique construction system that made the balconies an integral part of the structure, rather than mere appendages to it. Extruding the floor plate outside the building envelope, the team equipped the cantilevers with struts that both support them and provide a sort of peek-a-boo effect. The residual triangular openings reveal or conceal residents, depending on where they stand.

It wasn’t the simplest solution, but the Spina brothers say it’s what gives the project the feeling of potential that drives them. “Our interest wasn’t just to create high value real estate,” Maxi says. “It was to create a new look for urban living for young people who want to enjoy what the city has to offer.”

Project Credits

Location Rosario, Argentina
Client D.R.S. Construcciones
Architect P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S + MSA, Los Angeles—Marcelo Spina, Intl. Assoc. AIA, Georgina Huljich, Maximiliano Spina (principals-in-charge); Rick Michod, Nathaniel Moore, Giuliana Haro, Daniele Profeta, Mike Wang (project team)
Interior Designer/Landscape Architect/Lighting Designer P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S + MSA
Mechanical Engineer Juan Carlos Vaz, Alfa Ascensores; Ingeniero Daniel Leon
Structural/Civil Engineer Jose Orengo Ingenieros
Electrical Engineer Osvaldo Cichirillo
Construction Managers Marcelo and Maximiliano Spina
General Contractor D.R.S. Construcciones
Code Consultants Oscar Coniglio and Martín Gascón
Lighting Consultant Lorena Beltran, Serra Luz Rosario
Landscape Consultant Estilo Natural
Window Consultant Carlos Piro
Fabrics Consultant Emanuel Presas
Signage Consultant Liliana Silvano, Letreros Silvano
Furniture Consultants Forcén Design—Juan Angel Forcén; Nosten—Juan Ignacio Forcén, Javier Forcén
Stone Consultant José María Liebanas
Metal Consultant Fabián Aimino
Size 13,500 square feet
Cost $1.65 million

Materials and Sources

Ceilings La Yesera Rosarina
Concrete Tecbetón; Aserradero Soldini (formwork)
Fabrics Rosario Cortinas y Sistemas
Flooring Accesaniga S.A; Maderera Sorrento de Carlos Lovell
Furniture Forcén Design; Nosten
Glass CNP Sistemas de Aluminio
Lighting Serra Luz; Serra Electricidad (controls)
Masonry and Stone Ladrillos Chacabuco; Marmolería San Luis
Metal Fabián Aimino
Paints Grupo Paraná Pinturerias & Decoración
Plumbing and Water System Alberdi Sanitarios
Structure Acindar, Grupo ArcelorMittal; Berardi y Compañia (steel)
Various Materials Alberdi Sanitarios
Windows and Doors CNP Sistemas de Aluminio