Pirehueico House, Pirihueico Lake, Chile, 2004 by Alejandro Aravena



‘We were asked to design a summer/winter house in a remote landscape in the most southern part of Chile. More than a design, the client wanted, first of all, an equation that included every possible aspect that one could consider to be included; the design then had to be just the resolution of that equation.

A volcanic site, 4.000 mm of rain every year, strong winds from the north and east, views towards the lake (east) and the forest (west), considerations of the difficulty of bringing materials to this remote place, erasure of any a priori architectural language (be it old or contemporary) were the ingredients of this unknown dish, that should have the capacity to sound familiar once developed.

Being the weather condition very extreme, we started taking as less risk as possible; that’s why we began from the double sloped conventional roof. Slowly, we moved on, deforming it, looking for the views, avoiding the winds, using the frame windows as the arriving or starting points of the slopes. This acceptance-rejection logic of the operations, explain the geometry of the second floor; the first floor on the contrary, is a dry resistance box, able to deal with earthquakes and with the solitude this type of houses have to deal with, great part of the year.

Stones and wood came from the clearence made in the site for the house. The darkness of the object, will be a way to restitute the original density of the place.’


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