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Casa La Caņada.: Santiago, Chile


This house is set on a 1,060 sqm site in the last flat urban area of eastern Santiago before the Andes begin.The plot is 15m wide by 67m length with an existing garden with mature 40 year old trees. The original house, built back in the 70's, took no particular advantage of the garden. Despite being uninhabited for almost 20 years the backyard was luckily well preserved and felt like a forgotten park. Instead of remodeling, we decided to build a house from scratch. The relationship to the garden, particularly to the existing trees, should be in the foreground. We thought that architecture should not compete with nature; on the contrary, it should enhance its presence, colors and lights. Architecturally we had to remain neutral and silent in both material and color in order to let nature play its part. The house is a solid monolithic concrete block opened up through carvings instead of windows and openings. Externally, each carving becomes a place itself, some fitting just a single person, others more. Internally, they are a sort of glazed prisms letting light in and natural ventilation and allowing frontal and diagonal views as well as an internal see-through between contiguous rooms.The most direct result of this carving operation is that the garden is present everywhere in the house. Even in rooms on the opposite side of the house it is possible to have a glimpse of it.

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