Big Fish: Elevated Home Blends with Uruguay’s Wild Dunes

Architecturally designed by the acclaimed Martin Gomez Arquitectos, the Big Fish house in Punta del Este, Uruguay, stands as a shining example of sustainable, nature-inspired design. Situated on an irregular strip of land near the dunes and sea, this 2021-built residence preserves the captivating wild surroundings through a raised, light-touch approach. The ground plan rests on pillars, creating a space for garages and services while allowing the local vegetation to thrive beneath the upper, flying volume.

A modern beach house on stilts with a deck overlooking the ocean horizon.

Modern glass and wood structure surrounded by lush vegetation and blue sky.

A modern, minimalist beach house interior with large windows showcasing a stunning ocean view.


Modern and spacious dining room with wooden walls, pendant lamps, and a large dining table.

A modern kitchen with minimalist design, dark countertops, and panoramic ocean views.

Peaceful outdoor deck with wooden furniture and panoramic forest views through framed windows.


Rustic bedroom with floor-to-ceiling wood paneling, large window offering scenic view.

A cozy interior with warm wooden panels, a circular window, and a comfortable seating area.

Cozy coastal patio with wooden furniture, striped pillows, and a view of sand dunes.

A modern, wooden vacation home with a patio, pool, and stunning ocean view.

A modern, glass-enclosed structure on stilts, surrounded by lush vegetation.

A modern beachfront home with an open floor plan, elevated deck, and panoramic views.

Modern beachfront property with glass walls, wooden deck, and landscaped garden.

A modern, elevated beachfront house with expansive glass walls and a sleek, wooden exterior.

About Big Fish

Located in the captivating seaside community of José Ignacio, Uruguay, the “Big Fish” house by Martin Gomez Arquitectos represents a harmonious integration with the wild, natural surroundings. Situated on an irregularly-shaped plot (approximately 0.4 acres or 0.16 hectares) formed by the proximity to the dunes and the sea, the design team prioritized preserving the pristine coastal landscape.

Elevating for Unobstructed Sea Views

To minimize the project’s impact on the existing environment, the house is raised on a series of pillars, effectively elevating the living spaces and offering unobstructed views of the ocean. This strategic placement creates a ground-level area for garages and services, which is seamlessly incorporated into the natural vegetation.

Courtyard-Centric Design

The house’s volumetric design follows a pure, refined aesthetic, where an extraction operation has resulted in a large, central courtyard. This open-air space forms a circulation loop, alternating between private bedrooms and semi-private courtyards. The multiple courtyards not only increase the entry of natural light but also strengthen the connection between the interior and exterior spaces.

Seamless Indoor-Outdoor Living

The social areas of the house, including the dining room, living room, kitchen, and barbecue, are aligned and interconnected, reinforcing the concept of outdoor living in harmony with nature. A continuous deck runs through these spaces, further enhancing the seamless transition between the indoors and the picturesque surroundings.

A Sensitive Approach to Site and Context

By elevating the house, preserving the natural vegetation, and integrating the design with the coastal landscape, Martin Gomez Arquitectos has created a project that respects and enhances the unique character of the Punta del Este region. The “Big Fish” house embodies a thoughtful, sensitive approach to architecture, where the built form coexists in perfect harmony with the surrounding environment.

Photography by Daniela Mac Adden
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– by Matt Watts