Casa Sobre el Arroyo

World Monuments Fund

Casa Sobre el Arroyo

The 2024 World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize is awarded to the Ministries of Culture and Public Works of Argentina and the Municipality of Mar del Plata for their outstanding restoration of la Casa sobre el Arroyo in Mar del Plata, Argentina.

La Casa sobre el Arroyo, or “house on the stream,” was originally designed by architects Amancio Williams and Delfina Galvez Bunge de Williams in 1943. Located in the city of Mar del Plata, Argentina, the residence demonstrates the architects’ ability to harmoniously integrate a structure within the landscape. The reinforced concrete house is built in the form of a bridge over a stream, furthering its very light footprint on the land. Exotic species planted in the early 20th century surrounded the property.

Upon its completion in 1948, the residence was immediately published, analyzed, studied, and celebrated as an achievement of modern architecture designed to live in harmony with the landscape. The home was occupied by the architects’ family members until 1966. It was then purchased by a local businessman who maintained the property until his death in 1991—the start of its threat to survival.
Succession problems lasted for more than a decade, ultimately resulting in the abandonment of the site. Vandalism, water infiltration, and two fires led to the destruction of interior carpentry, including furniture, built-ins, and paneled walls designed by the architects. In addition, negligence to the landscape and pollution from urban development resulted in fallen trees, loss of plant life, and the disappearance of the stream that ran under the house.

Following years of advocacy efforts by local preservation groups, the Ministries of Culture and Public Works of Argentina and the Municipality of Mar del Plata bought the house and began a thorough conservation. Using archival documents as a guide, the landmark property was fully restored to the architects’ original specifications. In April 2023, la Casa sobre el Arroyo opened as a museum and center for appreciation and preservation of the modern heritage of Argentina. It is the first conservation project in the Global South to receive the Modernism Prize.

About the Prize

The World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize is awarded biennially to architecture or preservation professionals in recognition of an innovative architectural solution that has preserved a modern building or complex.

World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize Winners