Cazu Zegers designs elevated timber retreat in the Chilean woods

Cazu Zegers designs elevated timber retreat in the Chilean woods

The idyllic countryside retreat Casa LLU is nestled in rich foliage within the forests of a particularly rainy part of Chile, the Los Ríos Region. The project was designed by Santiago-based Cazu Zegers, the architect behind a series of striking Chilean residences, such as the hemispherical concrete Casa Do (2000) and the timber box-on-stilts that is Casa Esmeralda (2014). The recently completed Casa LLU follows the tradition of the latter with its wooden, zigzagging forms cutting a strong, poised figure within the lush landscape of southern Chile. 

The house was designed as a vacation home for a family, its extended relatives, and friends, so it spans a significant 750 sq m. Designed to be both connected to nature and easily accessible for wheelchair users, taking into consideration one of the family members that has particular mobility requirements, most of the house is designed on a single level, with ramps and large doors integrated where needed. 

The architect used a mix of local and contemporary architectural languages. Photography: Daniel Corvillon

The main floor is dominated by a generous open-plan living space that expands naturally outside; physically, through terraces and visually, through large wraparound strips of glazing that help maintain a constant dialogue between interior and exterior. Lateral wings are linked to this central volume and contain the family bedrooms and bathrooms, accessed discreetly via concealed doors. 

The architect’s design language purposefully mixes local vernacular (the house draws on the traditional shed of southern Chile) with contemporary references, such as the North American loft. Predominantly a wooden construction, the architect used recycled timber (such as oak, rauli, coihue and laurel) taken from old local sheds and houses, enhancing the buildings sense of place and character. 

‘Through a singular minimalist form, this work becomes a contemporary dialogue with the landscape’, says Zegers, ‘highlighting and enhancing its enormous beauty and magnitude.’ §

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