Vilches, Chile – Felipe Lagos
Area: 96.0 m2
Year Built: 2018
Photographs: Courtesy of Felipe Lagos
Casa R is a narrow holiday home located half-way through the top of the Andes Mountains. It’s a refuge for those seeking respite from extreme climates. It stands on isolated land. If you’re looking for peace and quiet, this one’s definitely for you. But if you want to take a break from all the solitude, there are places for outdoor sports and trekking trails, as well.
The two-story house was built with very minimal environmental footprint. The placement of the house seriously considered the presence of existing trees. As a result, no trees were harmed during the construction process.
A part of the structure stands on stilts. The sloping roof serves as a protection from the heavy snow during the winter season. Overall, the design of the house follows the natural terrain, eliminating the need for a heavier foundation.
Despite its small size, Casa R is big in comfort. Warm and comfortable interiors make it an ideal place for relaxing. It is equipped with the right amenities for basic living and has eliminated clutter.
Notes from the Architect:
Casa R is a holiday refuge for extreme climates located halfway up the Andes mountain, specifically at the town of Vilches, VII Southern Region of Chile. The main nearby attractions are the Pehuenche Border Crossing Trail, the Maule Lagoon, the Colbún Lake and a series of nature reserves and national parks. The land is a pronounced ravine which limits, on the north with Corel River, and on the east with the mountains. Another virtue of the area is that the place does not have close neighbors, and the land has a series of trails for trekking and outdoor sports.
The placement of the cabin in the land, is to insert the it in the middle of the forest looking towards the northern valley. This house has two floors, in order to rescue the views of the valley above the trees foliage and landscape. This decision also, has to do with occupying the ground on the first floor to avoid the ecological damaging or removing trees. Because of this, the house placement didn’t affect any type of native tree or plant.
This cabin is elevated from the ground, has slopes on the terraces and two floors. The slopes dialogue with the naturalness of the terrain, in order to reduce costs in foundations and radiers. The roof also has a steep slope to protect it from snowfals in the winter.
It was planed to modulate designed and prefabricated volumes of 2×4 and 3×4 mt, in response to the dimension of the iron (6 mt) and this way not having material losses. These modules are added side by side in open plan or open space, so they are attached to the main module that is the one of services like bathrooms and kitchenette, but without walls. The modules used in this cabin are 4, and some are repeated; Module A closed for Sanitary Services; Module B open for leisure on terraces and for woodshed; Module C open for bedrooms; and Module D for stairs or complement living spaces.
The specific program of this house, distributing the modules in two floors is the following: On the first floor is the woodshed and ‘chiflonera’ for accessing the cabin, then come the services such as kitchenette, bathroom and ends in the living-dining-terraces. On the second floor is the master bedroom, the living room and a work desk. As this is a holiday home, it has roofed terraces for winter and open for summer. It should be mentioned that in the perimeter of the house, it could be distributed from 1 to 3 more bedrooms.
The structure materiality is steel, such as all other protection products (mainly because of the resistance to the fire and water). Also pine woods in general, and mainly like monolithic coating was used tables of pine coated with carbonileo (2×5 “, 1×2 “, 1×3” and 1×4 “). Aluminum, concrete slab, classic grooved plywood plates were used as a finish, and black electroplated zinc was used as cover, all of which was studied as a way of integrating the architecture into the context.
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