Along the Carretera Austral on the shores of the lake Largo General Carrera, Chilean studio SAA arquitectura + territorio has designed a single-family house, covered with an outer shell of wood, that celebrates vernacular architecture.
From the beginning and given the siting conditions, the design had to resolve two primary requirements. First, the client requested that the project consider the characteristics of Patagonian buildings and, second, take into account the adverse conditions that affect construction in this type of region: remoteness, difficult access to and frequent lack of supply of materials, a harsh working climate and a far-away labor pool.
The house was designed structurally with industrial and prefabricated materials, organizing the stages of construction into a 5-month building program. Foundations were anchored directly to bedrock. The structural supports consist of pillars, beams and steel window frames. The floors, walls and roof are SIP panels. The details are done in native wood, using the techniques and styles inherent to local carpentry.
The house is arranged in two pavilions laid out parallel to the lake with a northeast orientation, one in front of the other and spaced to maximize the eastern view and natural light. The closest to the lake, which features the common areas, extends northwards, capturing the entire arc of natural light. Behind it, the private area faces south, distributing the bedrooms along a lengthy hallway that overlooks the lake. Joining the two pavilions tangentially is a room adjacent to the kitchen/dining area that can be opened or closed off by a large sliding wall.
Aysen’s Patagonian landscape is defined by the immensity of nature in relation to the minute density of constructions imposed upon it. The project aspires to the timeless by way of resolving the exterior cladding with a single material, the lenga shingle, a finish which binds the house to local building tradition. In this sense, the house proposes a simple footprint, which given its remote geographical location helps it blend in along with any old shed even while the architectural detail enriches the concept of a refuge by revealing its constructive will toward amplitude and transparency achieved through the steel and glass enclosing an interior which, immersed in nature, blends in instead of standing out.