A House With a Roof That Retracts, Thanks to a Hand-Operated Winch

If you happened upon architect Javier Corvalán's house in rural Paraguay while its roof was down, you probably wouldn't give it a second thought—this tiny aluminum box looks more like a bunker than a home. But thanks to a simple winch, the client who lives inside can tilt the entire roof upward by 25 degrees to create a warm, open-air living room.

Corvalán calls the home Caja Oscura because when the roof is in place, a tiny pinhole on its southern facade turns the entire second floor into a gigantic camera obscura (like this). Designed for a filmmaker, the space itself is divided into two basic parts: There's a sandstone foundation that contains the kitchen and service core, and an upper level that contains the living and sleeping areas.

Above it all, a thin box of corrugated aluminum keeps out the rain, wind, and intruders. But on nicer days, inhabitants can crank up the facade using the hand-operated winch anchored to its inside edge. A few turns of the handle create a six-foot-wide gap between the floor plate and the upper edge of the box. It's a demonstration of the most basic principle of physics—inertia—writ large enough for two people to live comfortably inside. [Domus via Dezeen]

A House With a Roof That Retracts, Thanks to a Hand-Operated Winch

A House With a Roof That Retracts, Thanks to a Hand-Operated Winch

A House With a Roof That Retracts, Thanks to a Hand-Operated Winch

Images and video by Pedro Kok.