The Gaucho House
The gaucho house was known throughout the Argentine Republic as “el rancho”. The idiosyncrasy of the gaucho, a man who lived most of the time on the back of his horse, his preference for living his life in a nomadic way, in freedom and without clinging too much to a place, did not allow him to devote much attention to the design or construction of his house and that led him to build it austerely, without many comforts.
Generally installed at great distances from each other, the ranches were built in a simple way and without needing the help of third parties to do so. Facing the prevailing winds and occasionally protected by groves that served as a barrier, they were generally small and square.
They had mud walls and a thatched or reed roof. In the pampa’s territories, lashed by winds and rains, and where there were no other elements than land and pastures to build, these houses were low, with a wide eaves and sloping roofs. In mountain areas, as there were stones to build them, they were used to raise walls, joining them with a mortar that was made with a mixture of straw and horse manure.
In general, the ranch consisted of a single room, a simple and spacious room with a door and one or two small windows, protected by a couple of disjointed boards and many times without anything to cover them. Inside, the furniture and utensils of the gaucho’s house were reduced to a minimum because the gaucho was at home only to sleep, play cards or drink mate.
The ranch was perhaps the first home that the gaucho had and although very humble and simple in construction, it marked the gaucho’s history.