Perfect circle: Pezo von Ellrichshausen designs a home in the Chiloé archipelago
Talk of the wild Chilean countryside conjures up images of endless strips of white sand, rocky cliffs, and beaches ideal for surfing; and for those in the know, the archipelago of Chiloé, in the region of Los Lagos. This remote part of the world is renowned for its unique landscape, made up of pristine nature, endemic fauna and its very own architectural style, mostly created in timber, having evolved from a mix of local and Spanish settler traditions.
These were all considerations that Concepción-based practice Pezo von Ellrichshausen – headed by Mauricio Pezo and Sofia von Ellrichshausen – had to take into account when designing their latest residential work on the Chiloé Island – Rode House.
Taking their cues from the area’s architecture, Pezo von Ellrichshausen put together a house built in locally-sourced wood – from its roof's shingles, to its interior's smooth planks and panels – translating their signature style of clear, geometric volumes (created mostly in concrete) into timber-clad spaces. Making the most of the island’s tradition in artisanal carpentry, the architects crafted a home full of immaculate detailing in wood, while revealing the material’s versatility. From the outside, Rode House seems solid and impenetrable with its tall, continuous, round wall and small windows; from the inside, the design becomes softer and more domestic, featuring expressive curves, large openings and a pitched roof.
The unusually shaped structure is plotted within a semi-circular footprint, which results in one long, double height family space at its heart, where the kitchen, dining and living room sit, and two generous bedrooms placed on the opposite ends of the floorplan. The building curves and elegantly wraps around a partially paved courtyard, protecting it from the region’s strong winds – making this home, not only a heavenly rural retreat, but also a real refuge.