Hot stuff: a Chilean house draws on its volcanic landscape

Hot stuff: a Chilean house draws on its volcanic landscape

Not many houses can boast sites as spectacular as those in the Chilean countryside. From dramatic rocky shores to dry deserts and leafy mountains, the South American country is not short of striking landscapes where architecture can choose to blend seamlessly, becoming one with the scenery, or make a mark, standing defiantly against the surrounding nature. Casa Hualle, the latest residential project by Ampueroyutronic, belongs somewhere in-between.

Located in the town of Pucon in the country’s Araucania region, the house is set within a landscape of open vistas, a lake and the rolling hills of the nearby Villarrica volcano. The single family residence is a sculptural volume created by geometric folds and cut outs (one of them highlighting the entrance), clearly marking its presence within its surrounds; but at the same time the architects – led by Javier Ampuero and Catalina Yutronic – chose to embrace its natural environment by carving large openings out of its monolithic form, orientating the eyes towards the views, taking in the nature and placing it centre stage. Additionally, its dark-stained softwood skin colour references the area’s architecture, which has been traditionally clad in black volcanic rock.

Inside, the space unfolds across 230 sq m and two storeys. Offsetting the black exterior, the interior is enveloped in pale, almost white, stained wood. Smooth, exposed concrete floors bring all the different rooms together. A central double-height volume sits at the heart of the house, hosting the kitchen, dining and living areas on the ground level. Flanking it are two guest bedrooms, while upstairs sits the master bedroom and bathroom. This is accessed by a carefully designed, generous staircase that doubles as a library and studio space, with a gallery that overlooks the main living spaces below.

In a gesture of respect towards the surrounding nature, the architects opted for the use of a number of eco-friendly systems, including passive energy saving features that encourage sustainability; while a swimming pool outside makes taking the plunge an exciting experience, set against the dramatic volcanic backdrop.

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