Casa R by Felipe Lagos is a holiday refuge for extreme climates located halfway up the Andes Mountains, specifically in the town of Vilches, VII southern region of Chile. The main nearby attractions are the Pehuenche Border Crossing Trail, the Maule Lagoon, the Colbún Lake and a series of nature reserves and national parks. The land is a pronounced ravine which limits, on the north with Corel River, and on the east with the mountains. Another virtue of the area is that the place does not have close neighbors, and the land has a series of trails for trekking and outdoor sports.
The placement of the cabin on the land was chosen in the middle of the forest looking towards the northern valley. The house has two floors in order to take advantage of the views of the valley above the trees’ foliage and landscape. This decision had as well to do with occupying the ground on the first floor in order to avoid the ecological damaging or removing trees.
The cabin is elevated from the ground, has slopes on the terraces and the two floors. The slopes dialogue with the naturalness of the terrain in order to reduce costs for foundations and radiers. The roof has also a steep slope to protect it from snowfall in the winter.
It was planed as a modular design and prefabricated volumes of 2×4 and 3×4 m in response to the dimensions of iron (6 m) and in order to avoid material losses. These modules are added side by side in open plan or open space, being attached to the main module that is the one of services (bathrooms and kitchenette), but without walls. The modules used are 4, and some are repeated: module A closed for sanitary services, module B open for leisure on terraces and for the woodshed, module C open for bedrooms and module D for stairs or complementary living spaces.
The specific program of the house was distributing the modules on two floors: on the first floor there is the woodshed and chiflonera for accessing the cabin, then come the services (kitchenette, bathroom) and it ends in the living-dining-terrace areas. On the second floor the master bedroom, the living room and a work desk can be found. As it is a holiday home, it has roofed terraces for winter and open for summer. In the perimeter of the house 1 to 3 additional bedrooms could be included.
The structure is in steel as well as all other protection products (mainly because of the resistance to fire and water). Further, pine wood, aluminum, concrete, classic grooved plywood plates and black electroplated zinc were used throughout the project, all of which was studied as a way of integrating the architecture into the context.
Design, info and images © Felipe Lagos