Daniel Lazo and Gabriel Cáceres and their Chile-based studio join the Wallpaper* Architects’ Directory 2022, our annual list of exciting emerging practices from across the globe. The partners love exploring materials and spatial approaches that make urban life better, and their DSP Residential Building in Santiago is a key example.  

Who: Studio CL

Chile’s Studio CL was founded in 2012 by architects and friends Daniel Lazo and Gabriel Cáceres. ‘We approach design as an editing process: a search for the essential elements involved in communicating an idea, from conceptual to technical,’ they say. ‘It involves constant revising, and excision of the dispensable. We aim not only for our design solutions to look simple, but to be simple in their manufacture. We strive for elegant solutions that achieve multiple goals in a single movement. Our pursuit is a raw, abstract design quality, a sort of nakedness.’

The duo work on a variety of projects, but housing takes a special place in their hearts. Working with urban plots is also an area of interest; they enjoy tackling the challenges of city life and see architecture as a tool for shaping and improving urban living. Their recent work for innovative developer Ochoalcubo – DSP Residential Building (pictured) – is a key example. Public space design is another field in which Studio CL strives to excel, using Santiago as a case study: the city is going ‘through an accelerated process of change without a clear model for the city it wants to be, but with a lot of room for improvement. As a byproduct, our work is not bound to any specific architectural scale or niche,’ they say. 

Mesh screen at Chile housing project by Studio CL

What: DSP Residential Building

Located in Chile’s capital, Santiago, in a part of the formerly neglected downtown area called Barrio Italia, DSP, a boutique apartment building, puts forward a model of compact and sustainable multi-family housing. The neighbourhood in which it sits has experienced intense urban development in recent years, offering both challenges and opportunities for architects, developers and inhabitants alike. ‘Along with the positive outcomes – like the reappreciation of public space and urban life – rising real estate prices and rents are making it increasingly difficult for new urbanites to find housing, while predatory urban development practices threaten to erase the very character that brought them to these neighbourhoods in the first place,’ say the architects. 

Responding to these conditions, Studio CL created DSP for design-led real estate project Ochoalcubo, which is behind a string of dramatic architect-led villas on the ragged Chilean coast by studios such as Elemental and Ryue Nishizawa. The new building, surgically fitted in a plot that used to be occupied by a single house, is ‘an exercise in micro-scale density’, explain the team. It contains three apartments of different sizes, arranged around a central circulation core – a steel-plate staircase painted bright blue. And while the main structure is made of precast concrete, the building’s exterior is wrapped in a delicate aluminium veil that covers both the front and back façades, providing shade and privacy from the street.

Staircase at boutique Santiago de Chile housing by Studio CL

Why: Architects Directory 2022

Conceived in 2000 as an international index of emerging architectural talent, the Wallpaper* Architects’ Directory is our annual listing of promising practices from across the globe. While always championing the best and most promising young studios, over the years, the project has showcased inspiring work with an emphasis on the residential realm. Now including more than 500 alumni, the Architects’ Directory is back for its 22nd edition. Join us as we launch this year’s survey – 20 young studios from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Ecuador, France, Greece, India, Indonesia, Japan, Nigeria, Paraguay, Thailand, the UAE, the UK, the USA, and Vietnam with plenty of promise, ideas and exciting architecture.

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Interior of boutique housing by Studio CL
Interior spaces at housing in Chile