Luna House is a concrete Chilean live/work haven by Pezo von Ellrichshausen
Pezo von Ellrichshausen invites us inside Luna, the studio’s base, a geometric concrete masterpiece in the Chilean countryside
Santa Lucia Alto in Chile’s Yungay region, is green and dramatic, filled with dense forests, fertile agricultural plains and tall mountains – part of the Andes starts here. It is also the home turf of renowned, award-winning architecture practice Pezo von Ellrichshausen, headed by Sofía von Ellrichshausen and Mauricio Pezo. And it is here that the dynamic duo embarked upon building their new base, the expansive, combined home and workspace project, Luna House. Exemplifying in one fell swoop the pair’s fascination with form making, exposed concrete and a healthy blend of brutalism and minimalist architecture, Luna House is at once a striking and a calming presence.
‘This is a large and a small building at the foot of the Andes Mountains,’ the architects explain. ‘In fact, it is an aggregate of 12 different buildings separated from each other by visible seismic joints. Saying that this collection of concrete blocks is a house would be too simple.’
The building is arranged in a square floorplan, featuring a large courtyard in the middle, around which runs an intermittent colonnade – a bit like a cloister. An asymmetrical cross shape (on plan) divides it into sections with a different identity each – one has a reflective pool, another a flower garden, for example. Various rooms and functions are arranged around it, including purely domestic spaces, workspace, semi-open air and flexible areas.
Each room has its own spatial quality, as this generous building is punctuated by a variety of openings – round ones and slender slits, some on the walls and some on the ceiling forming variously shaped skylights. Some parts feel intimate, and some have a more public atmosphere, almost gallery-like with tall, double-height ceilings. Spreading across some 2,400 sq m, Luna House has space for everything, blending at the same time the perceived harshness of the exposed concrete walls with green foliage, flowers and water elements.
As to what inspired this expansive home office’s moniker? ‘The name of this intricate structure [Luna] is given by the size of that bigger courtyard, which is equivalent to the size of a bullring, called “medialuna” in Chilean rural tradition,’ the architects explain. §