like its namesake dragonfly, casa libélula floats over a river delta in argentina

like its namesake dragonfly, casa libélula floats over a river delta in argentina

casa libélula: a house on stilts


Casa Libélula, designed by architects Barbara Berson and Horacio Sardin, is a newly completed residence located on an island in the Delta Río Paraná, Argentina. Hidden within a willow forest, this timber home draws inspiration from traditional vernacular architecture while incorporating modern design principles to create a respectful connection between its occupants and their natural surroundings. The house is built from a series of interlocking wooden stilts, the careful craftsmanship of its joints ensures the house’s stability. The team notes that the structure is designed like a piece of furniture, without superfluous ornament.

casa libélula berson sardinimages © Albano García



architects berson & sardin learn from vernacular design


With the design of Casa Libélula, Barbara Berson and Horacio Sardin pay homage to the wisdom of local architecture, which has enabled generations to thrive in the delta’s challenging environment. Traditional methods, such as creating shaded spaces around the home and utilizing wood as the primary material, are integral to this approach. This contemporary architecture continues these traditions through a modern lens, integrating into the delta’s landscape. The simplicity and wisdom of anonymous vernacular architecture served as a fundamental inspiration for the project.


The vernacular homes of the region, often surrounded by shaded courtyards, are reimagined in Casa Libélula through a new geometric design. The entire house becomes a large shaded porch, with retractable glass facades transforming all interior spaces into breezy, outdoor areas. This adaptation makes the house perfectly suited for the hot summers of the region.

casa libélula berson sardin
Casa Libélula is hidden within a willow forest on an island in the Delta Río Paraná, Argentina



shifting levels for a dynamic landscape


Casa Libélula is composed of three distinct levels, each offering a unique way of interacting with the environment. The ground level, close to the natural terrain, is used on the hottest days, featuring a shaded garden with wooden flooring and hammocks. This level floods during high water periods, creating a dynamic aquatic landscape that fosters a close connection with nature. The intermediate level is the primary living space, providing horizontal vistas that create a sense of floating within the willow forest. The upper level offers a place for contemplation and meditation, providing expansive views of the sky and treetops.


The house is comprised of three main volumes, interconnected by a glazed entrance hall. The largest volume houses the public areas, including the living room, dining area, and kitchen. The other two volumes contain the private areas, such as bedrooms. These components are clad in charred wood and are designed to protect privacy while maintaining a visual connection with the landscape.

casa libélula berson sardin
the design draws inspiration from local vernacular architecture with its wooden structure and shaded spaces



A system of ascending and descending platforms creates a promenade-like experience throughout Casa Libélula. The first platform, a dock on the canal, serves as the entry point and a space for relaxation, furnished with wooden seating and tables. Existing trees penetrate the wooden decking, providing natural shade. A diagonal path traverses the house, connecting it to canals on both fronts. The slanted access paths offer changing perspectives of the house, enhancing the experience of discovering the home amid the dense foliage. Casa Libélula’s design deconstructs traditional architectural forms into floating, interlocking components. The three main volumes extend outward from the supporting wooden structure, appearing to hover in space. The upper roofs and projecting glass fronts create a sense of levitation, reinforcing the house’s ethereal presence in the natural landscape.

casa libélula berson sardin
three levels include the shaded ground level for hot days, the middle for daily living, and the upper for meditation casa libélula berson sardin
traditional forms are deconstructed into floating, interlocking components, giving it an ethereal presence


an ascending and descending platform system creates a promenade experience

like its namesake dragonfly, casa libélula floats over a river delta in argentina
an innovative structure with numerous columns and a stable foundation prevents sinking in the soft delta ground

cross ventilation, multilayer walls, and winter gardens to maintain comfort year-round

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