Following 2016, the year that saw the first Chilean win the Pritzker Prize, the striking nation has experienced a newfound spot in the global architectural limelight. Chile has long been home to rich vineyard landscapes, the stunning scenes of Patagonia and of course the mysterious structures of Easter Island, but its architectural tradition can evoke equal marvel. While Alejandro Aravena may be the name of the moment, this collection features lesser known Chilean practices that are designing stunning contemporary buildings in their native country. Specifically, these homes are located in mountainous and expansive regions of Chile, providing the space and an awe-inspiring backdrop for rising architects to make their mark.
Though similarly remote, each of the houses in this collection bears the unique touch of its designers. Like the houses of the Ordos 100 project, this collection can be seen as a study of comparison, or an observation of the varied responses when innovative architects are presented with similar sites and programs. This commonality is visible in the attention to apertures throughout the architecture. Whether formally alike or distinct, the homes each demonstrate an inclination to realize their voice at the exact threshold of interior and exterior — the window.
Located on a vast 53,800-square-foot site in Colina, Chile, this lush area is open to the natural surroundings and lush Andean vistas. The client sought a home that would cater to outdoor living, and 57studio’s design does just that. The house is arranged around a central patio with views onto a garden that flows seamlessly into the neighboring park. All of the spaces surrounding the patio have crisp floor-to-ceiling glazing, making the indoor living feel wild as well.
The Corredor House is set against a breathtaking view of the South and East Andes. With a valley of almond trees to the West and a reservoir on the North, it is a hard choice to decide the direction in which to look. The architects at Chauriye Stäger chose to open the façade on the North and South which allows varied views, avoids blinding lights and creates an illuminated atmosphere within as the light creeps in from the sides.
This unique house is built on a wooden column grid. The ordered nature of the structure embeds a constant repetition into the home’s aura, highlighting the organic material. These bold vertical elements, combined with expansive window “walls” that allow panoramic views of the landscape into each room, engender the feeling that the Tierras Blancas House is itself part of the Eucalyptus forest surrounding it.
A very active Chilean firm, MAPA, has designed this house in “El Buchen,” and ancient Andean forest. The architecture is divided into two prominent spaces — the wide open living module with a central hearth, and the more private wing of bedrooms and washrooms. Though programmatically distinct, the spaces are unified through a façade with bold picture windows set in an undulating pattern. In this way, the façade feels skin-like despite not being a curtain wall or membrane. It is so carefully consistent in its texture and rhythm that it becomes the defining symbol of the building, while preserving the interior divisions and providing lofty views.
Paz House | House Two by MoDe Studio – Modern Development Studio, LLC/Eduardo Berlin Razmilic Associated Architects, Las Condes, Chile
The Paz House by MoDe Studio is located on a natural sloping site in Las Condes, Chile. The uneven terrain is mitigated by an elemental ground level on a sharp horizontal plane. The above volumes also express their horizontal contours boldly. Notably, the windows throughout are sandwiched between thick floor slabs. While they appear weightless, the luminous quality of these wide windows gives substance to the open living spaces, and enforces the horizontally “striped” nature of the concrete structure.
Like the Kubler House above, Casa O Chile is located north of Santiago in Colina, Chile. The home features views of the valley and Andes Mountains. To retain sights of the gorgeous surroundings, yet maintain privacy, the house has a marked delineation between the first and second stories. The exposed façade of the first floor is completely glazed, and the floor plane hardly raised off of the ground, creating a semblance of continuity between the grassy terrain and interior floor. This is especially realized in the summer months when the sliding glazing can be moved and hidden away within the concrete walls. The second story is a bold and closed-off mass. Yet like the first story, its functional façade can be folded away, and its opaque materiality disrupted.
This house in Algarrobo, Chile overlooks the Casablanca wetland. While the site is sloped, and the main enclosure of the house raised above grade, the house is unified through a gallery which linked all of the interior spaces. Through this feature, the house is able to act meaningfully towards the natural depressions and convexities of the site, while maintaining a practical and continuous level field. Moreover, the gallery is lined by lush vegetation and has bold exposures, meaning its constant presence in each room permits plentiful views outward.