Corten protects a family house from the extreme environment of Chilean Patagonia

Apus Kankay is a family home designed for flexibility, located in Chile
Apus Kankay is a family home designed for flexibility, located in Chile.
(Image credit:  Marco Zegers)

At home, architecture often dictates the amount of time we spend with each other as we move through the different activities of the day. In the Chilean Patagonia on the eastern bank of the Rupanco Lake, the challenge for architects Aguilo+Pedraza, was to create a house that would allow a family to spend the most time together, regardless of what they were up to.

The design reference for the building was the form of a pavilion. The architects wanted to create a sheltered space that was not quite as formal as a house, but instead a flexible, congenial and laid back zone where family activities and time could be shared.

View out from inside

(Image credit: Marco Zegers )

The view from the second level, and interiors featuring timber interiors and floor-to-ceiling glazing

Architects and founders of the studio Diego Aguilo and Rodrigo Pedraza brought a relaxed flexibility to the interiors. The first level functions as a living and dining space, anchored by a central double hearth with a grill on one side, and chimney on the other allowing for use as a barbeque, or a source of warmth and comfort. The second floor has a similarly easy arrangement – it’s a broad yet serene environment that could be used as a common space and a bedroom.

Underneath the house

(Image credit: Marco Zegers )

The outdoor ‘living room' beneath the house

The ‘pavilion’ found its place in the landscape between two century old trees, and its shape was guided by the extreme winds and rain that it had to prepare to face. The architects ‘moulded’ the Corten steel clad design, creating a first floor bay to block the icy south wind that blows in the summer, and a stairway orientated towards the north that acts as a buffer to the winter winds.

While deferential to its environment, the house is also a place where its inhabitants can experience nature. While the upper levels open up views to the tremendous sunsets and sunrises across the epic landscape, at ground level, beneath the whole structure, an outdoor terrace for living and eating has been carved out of the landscape. This area feels sheltered and habitable, like an outdoor living room – with a back garden of pure wilderness.

Interior space and ground floor terrace

(Image credit: Marco Zegers)

Living and dining room

(Image credit: Marco Zegers)

Exterior facade

(Image credit: Marco Zegers)

House and vegetation

(Image credit: Marco Zegers)

Overlooking the landscape

(Image credit: Marco Zegers)

Timber interior

(Image credit: Marco Zegers)

Exterior

(Image credit: Marco Zegers)

The landscape

(Image credit: Marco Zegers)

Underneath the house

(Image credit: Marco Zegers)

INFORMATION

For more information, visit the Aguilo Pedraza Arquitectos website (opens in new tab)

Harriet Thorpe is a writer, journalist and editor covering architecture, design and culture, with particular interest in sustainability, 20th-century architecture and community. After studying History of Art at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and Journalism at City University in London, she developed her interest in architecture working at Wallpaper* magazine and today contributes to Wallpaper*, The World of Interiors and Icon magazine, amongst other titles. She is author of The Sustainable City (2022, Hoxton Mini Press), a book about sustainable architecture in London, and the Modern Cambridge Map (2023, Blue Crow Media), a map of 20th-century architecture in Cambridge, the city where she grew up.