Explore Guillermo Acuña's modern interpretation of a traditional Chilean lodge

Riñihue House by Guillermo Acuña Arquitectos Asociados is an ode to timber construction, as well as a picturesque retreat in the leafy countryside of Chile

Rinihue House exterior views at Chile
(Image credit: Pablo Casals Aguirre)

This retreat in the green countryside of Chile is not only a dreamy getaway, guaranteed to have you relaxed by the time you put your feet up on that balustrade, gazing out towards the leafy views; it is also an ode to building with timber, as demonstrated by the architects, Santiago-based Guillermo Acuña Arquitectos Asociados (GAAA). 

Riñihue House, which owes its name to the namesake nearby lake, is part of a series of works by the architecture studio, who has been honing its wood-building skills by creating timber constructions across the country using CNC mechanisation. ‘It is a new construction experience for us, which has made us rethink entirely the design process and urged us to look to traditional carpentry for new possibilities in the way we work,' says the team.

Rinihue House aerial

(Image credit: Pablo Casals Aguirre)

The house's construction schedule had to be planned carefully, as the plot sits nestled in woodland in a remote location in the country's south, impacted by heavy snowfall at certain times of the year. The architects had an eight-month window to complete any work there.

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GAAA created a comprehensive list of wooden parts that would need to come together to create their building. The different elements were numbered and put in a manual with a building sequence to guide the contractors on site. ‘It helped us trace all the materials needed, control the number of specialists involved in the works, as well as helping significantly reduce construction times and therefore costs and construction waste,' they explain.  

The idyllic residence can be accessed by a wooden pathway that lifts off the ground turning into a bridge that guides the visitor up to the house's slightly elevated ground floor (to accommodate level changes and existing flora), where four bedrooms and bathrooms are located. 

A circulation core at the floorplate's heart leads up to piano nobile. This is an open plan floor containing the main living spaces. Wide, glazed walls open up the interior towards the landscape beyond. A pitched roof – a minimalist, modern interpretation of traditional countryside local typologies – tops the structure.

Rinihue House exterior view

(Image credit: Pablo Casals Aguirre)

Chile's countryside Rinihue House exterior

(Image credit: Pablo Casals Aguirre)

Rinihue House inside outside

(Image credit: Pablo Casals Aguirre)

Rinihue House terrace

(Image credit: Pablo Casals Aguirre)

Rinihue House living space

(Image credit: Pablo Casals Aguirre)

Rinihue House bathroom

(Image credit: Pablo Casals Aguirre)

Rinihue House entrance bridge

(Image credit: Pablo Casals Aguirre)

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Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture Editor at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018) and Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020).

With contributions from