In Chile, Homes as Extreme as the Landscape Itself
“When we first started building, the neighbors were scandalized,” von Ellrichshausen told me on a recent January evening at the height of austral summer. “You’d be standing in front of the building and people would come ask, ‘What is it?’” Pezo says. “Then one time a person stopped and asked us, ‘What was it?’” adds von Ellrichshausen, who grew up across the border in the Argentine resort town of Bariloche. “That’s a much nicer question.”
Bordered by the Atacama Desert to the north, the Andes to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west, Chile has always been defined by its extremes: It’s not the middle of nowhere, but it is at the edge of it. At the turn of the 16th century, the Incas claimed the northern half of modern-day Chile as a buffer zone between the rich centers of population in Peru and the wild, primeval forests to the south. The Spanish made it as far as Concepción, which, until the early 19th century, served as a garrison against the Mapuches. And though Spain’s monarchy built over the foundations of great pre-Columbian civilizations in Mexico and Peru, in Chile — largely devoid of the precious metals that made other nations rich — the buildings were usually rustic and prone to destruction by frequent earthquakes. Even Chile’s upper class has historically shunned ostentation in favor of austere practicality — in Concepción, for example, the oldest buildings only date to the 1950s.
Covering 2,673 miles from north to south and, on average, only 110 miles from east to west, Chile’s landscape is immense yet tenuous, all rocky coast and soaring peaks with little habitable area in between. Every few years, a volcano coats the countryside with ash, an earthquake shakes a city to the ground or a tsunami consumes another foot of coastline. The Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral, the first Latin American writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, wrote in her first collection, “Desolation” (1922), of a country where “the sea invades the mountain,” and compared the Chilean sky to “an immense heart that opens, bitter.” Her acolyte, and Chile’s second Nobel-winning poet, Pablo Neruda, wrote in the first volume of his seminal collection, “Residence on Earth” (1925-45), of “something tenaciously involved between my life and the earth / something openly unconquerable and unfriendly.” In those same years, while living abroad in self-imposed exile as an honorary diplomat, Neruda published a manifesto that he titled “Toward an Impure Poetry” (1935): “The constancy of the human presence that permeates every surface,” he wrote, “this is the poetry we are seeking, corroded, as if by acid, by the labors of man’s hand....”
Rather than fading deferentially into the terrain that surrounds them, the houses that best exemplify the new Chilean architecture are, like Neruda’s impure poetry, emphatically man-made — rough-hewn and, at times, surreal. Built on cliffs over the sea or at the base of the mountains, they stake their claim to a patch of land, declare a human presence in an “unconquerable and unfriendly” world and deliberately embrace the poetry inherent in their imperfections.
THOUGH CHILE DEBUTED on the global architectural scene only 30 years ago, Modernism had in fact made its first appearance here nearly a century ago. In 1929, Matías Errázuriz Ortúzar commissioned Le Corbusier to design a house on the rocky Pacific Coast, a few hours west of Santiago. At the time, imported materials were all but impossible to source, so Le Corbusier traded his preferred reinforced concrete for locally gathered fieldstone and boulders set onto a frame of local timber. For the roof, he inverted the traditional pitch of nearby cottages to create contemporary architecture’s first butterfly roof, a form that would later be reproduced on Modernist buildings around the world, notably on suburban ranchers across California. And though the blueprint he designed was never built, the concept for Maison Errázuriz set a precedent for treating country homes as laboratories of Chilean design.
In Santiago, similarly progressive projects became popular in the 1950s after Sergio Larraín García-Moreno — who, with Jorge Arteaga, built Chile’s first Modernist structure, Santiago’s blocky, round-cornered Oberpaur building — introduced a Bauhaus-inspired curriculum at the city’s Pontificia Universidad Católica, or P.U.C., the country’s most prestigious architecture program. Prior to a catastrophic 1960 earthquake in southern Chile, the state had adopted rational, socially conscious Modernism; it became the language of reconstruction. By the mid-60s, this movement reached its apotheosis with the Copelec building — with its Corbusian puzzle of hourglass columns and arrowslit windows — in the southern town of Chillán and the ethereal Benedictine monastery in Las Condes, a rich enclave on the outskirts of Santiago.
But that period of creativity started to decline along with the economy in the late 1960s and came to a decisive end in 1973 with the United States-backed coup that installed General Augusto Pinochet as dictator. Larraín’s granddaughter, the Santiago-based architect Cecilia Puga, 57, finished her studies during the final days of Pinochet’s rule; in those years, she recalls, architects favored by developers spurned Modernism, with its close ties to the left, in favor of houses with mock-Georgian gables and American-style shopping malls. “Among the regime’s many sins,” says Rodrigo Pérez de Arce, an influential professor at P.U.C., “was a lack of culture.”
During the dictatorship, P.U.C.’s curriculum turned from practice to theory, and the university began producing its own magazine and biennial. “When there’s no work, that’s what emerges,” says Fernando Pérez Oyarzun, the former dean of P.U.C.’s Faculty of Fine Arts and Architecture and the recently appointed director of the National Fine Arts Museum in Santiago. When Pinochet’s autocracy finally collapsed in 1990, trade opened up. Exiles returned from Mexico, Europe and the United States. Architects graduating in the early 1990s emerged from P.U.C. as both practitioners and thinkers.
The first important building of the post-dictatorship generation was a country house. Built in 1991 by Mathias Klotz, the property in the fishing village of Tongoy, on a stretch of arid coastline some 250 miles north of Santiago, consists of a simple wooden box facing the sea, a lonely rectangle that levitates over the sand. With its minimalist shape and its refusal to blend in with its surroundings, that home remains a touchstone for young architects, like the 36-year-old Cristián Izquierdo, who in 2016 completed his Casa Morrillos, a weekend retreat for a pair of older couples from Santiago, on a dune 15 minutes north of Tongoy.
Like the Tongoy house, Casa Morrillos hovers, seemingly weightless: an alien object set down at the water’s edge. Built entirely with Chilean pine and assembled by a crew of master carpenters from the nearby city of Coquimbo, the structure evolved from a similar set of local restrictions that drove Le Corbusier’s design for Maison Errázuriz. Yet unlike that house, the modest 2,200-square-foot Casa Morrillos faces all directions at once: 72 wooden doors stained white using a chemical process that helps them resist abrasive gusts of sandy wind form the house’s outer walls; when open, they direct your gaze not only toward the Pacific but also toward the dry mountains of the interior. Le Corbusier famously designed machines for living, but Casa Morrillos, Izquierdo says, “is a machine for looking.”
TWO HOURS DOWN the coast, a dirt path peels off the highway into the quiet seaside development of Bahía Azul, winding past shingled cabins and glass boxes before reaching a plain metal gate. Hidden from the road by arching trees, Cecilia Puga’s gravity-defying Bahía Azul house, built in 2002 for her mother, uses reinforced concrete to turn the weightlessness of the Klotz and Izquierdo houses upside down.
The original commission was simple: a home big enough to accommodate all five of Puga’s siblings, yet also requiring little upkeep. Puga spent weeks driving along the central coast, covering 250 miles between the black sand beaches of Santo Domingo in the south and the cactus-studded escarpments of Huentelauquen, just north of the fishing village Los Vilos. Along the way, she passed the ruins of abandoned railway stations silhouetted against the dun-colored hills, unadorned echoes of the spontaneous beach settlements of plywood and cardboard that she’d visited farther north, created, sometimes overnight, by copper miners — low-income communities laying their claim, as the rich had done for generations, to their own parcel of land and sea. The uniform rows reminded her of the Donald Judd sculptures she’d seen on a trip to Marfa, Tex., in 2007.
The Bahía Azul house began with a shape as elemental as those predecessors: a square topped by a triangle, a house a child might draw. She cast the form in concrete because it was a low-maintenance material that could withstand the constant battery of ocean air, then replicated it three times for a total of 2,260 square feet. When excavations on the plot revealed no major obstacles, Puga started experimenting with different configurations for the three structures. Eventually, she tried inverting one and setting it atop the other, a balancing act that, in this seismic region, “puts an emphasis on the fragility of this object,” she says.
A short distance up the beach, in a development called Ochoquebradas, the 51-year-old architect Alejandro Aravena designed a house that’s even more radically reduced. Though he has devoted the majority of his 25-year career to social housing and urban planning projects, the architect, and his firm, Elemental, accepted the commission in 2012 from the developer Eduardo Godoy because it came with few restrictions. The project, Aravena says, became “an opportunity to ask, ‘What is it to live in a house? How much can you condense that life?’”
Only the third single-family home built by Aravena, the 3,000-square-foot Ochoquebradas house thrusts out over the edge of a rocky, lichen-stained bluff. Its three monolithic volumes — one horizontal, one vertical, one leaning heavily toward the broad-backed tower (though never quite meeting it), as though toppled by a tremor eons before — stand like a ruined monument from a forgotten civilization. Set far from the highway, down a barren, rocky hill, the house, from a distance, could be any size or age, still in progress or slowly disintegrating. Pine panels — the same ones used to mold and imprint the concrete structure — cover the interior walls. Bedrooms in the vertical tower are as spare as a monk’s quarters, while the living areas downstairs open entirely to the sea, unimpeded by the balconies or banisters that would be required by law in many parts of the United States or Europe. The tilting concrete block serves as a sort of chimney, hollow and open to the sky over an interior courtyard with a fire pit at its heart. When all the walls are open, ocean air sweeps in, erasing the boundary between indoors and out. Despite its sophisticated engineering, the house feels primordial, like a cave dwelling.
Perched on a cliff, its form suggesting collapse and decay, Ochoquebradas acknowledges its own vulnerability against the tectonics that govern the Pacific Rim. Those same forces have, for the last century, prevented Chilean architects from building with the gravity-defying exuberance deployed by, say, Oscar Niemeyer in Brazil or Félix Candela in Mexico, or with the brittle transparency favored by American icons like Richard Neutra and Frank Lloyd Wright. Chile’s geography makes those kinds of buildings impossible, Aravena says; thin walls and slender pilasters crack as the ground shifts beneath them. “I want to identify what I can do here that can’t be done in other places,” he adds. “This ability to be really primitive: In Chile, that’s our luxury.”
IT TOOK THE END of the dictatorship for the world at large to take notice of Chile’s daring buildings, but some of the country’s most significant experiments in domestic architecture had actually started decades earlier, on a stretch of beach 95 miles south of Ochoquebradas. In 1970, the leaders of the architecture school and research institute at the Pontificia Universidad Católica of Valparaíso purchased 270 acres of land just up the coast from the gritty, atmospheric port city of the same name and founded a commune called Ciudad Abierta (“Open City”), where they put their radical theories into practice.
In its first two decades of existence, the founders of the Ciudad Abierta, which included artists and poets as well as architects, kept mostly aloof from other schools and, controversially at the time, from the turmoil of the dictatorship, particularly the prison camp for political dissidents at Ritoque, three miles down the beach. With its emphasis on communal living, the Ciudad Abierta became a testing ground for a kind of utopian architecture, one based on observation and improvisation rather than formalist order. The residents aimed to dismantle the distinctions between art forms, using poetry as a starting point for an architecture that was also sculpture.
Nearly 40 years after its founding, Ciudad Abierta remains a perpetual work in progress. Fourteen habitable structures — including workshops, meeting halls and houses, some occupied full time, others intermittently — mark the desolate landscape. Constructed from wood, canvas and brick, the buildings are complex and spontaneous, like maps of the wind. In La Alcoba, the home of the professor and architect Patricio Cáraves Silva, 67, ceilings sweep upward like the hulls of canoes and windows serve not to frame views but to channel light. The house, like Izquierdo’s, faces every way at once. “If a building has a facade,” Silva says, “then the rest is just a result. It’s the least natural thing in the world to think of only one side of something.”
The ideas proposed by the Valparaíso School have rarely been implemented in their pure form outside the Ciudad Abierta, but, says P.U.C.’s Oyarzun, “they ended up infiltrating every architecture school in Chile.” Though Puga’s Bahía Azul claims its place with a defiance you would never see at the Ciudad Abierta, its final form also evolved during excavation. Casa Cien’s floor plan is more rigid than La Alcoba, but it shares its limited palette of materials and powerful interiority. And while the new generation of Chilean architects focuses more on concrete reality than literary abstraction, their work, Oyarzun adds, conveys “some of that poetic dimension that the Valparaíso School wanted to attribute to architecture.”
No house better expresses that synthesis than the House for the Poem of the Right Angle, by Smiljan Radic, 58, born in Santiago to parents of Croatian descent. In the last 20 years, Radic has built two houses and renovated another on the same plot of land in Vilches, a pastoral village at the edge of the Andes, where the parents of his partner, the sculptor Marcella Correa, spent summer weekends for decades. The first project, called Casa Chica, built in 1996, was a 258-square-foot glass box set between two stone walls embedded in a hillside. For the second, Casa A, Radic opened the front and back of the family’s A-frame cabin, originally built in the 1960s, to the surrounding forest and set it on a platform approached by a shallow ramp — “so you could arrive on horseback if you wanted,” Radic wrote in a text published in 2008, upon the completion of the house. Four years later, after Casa A had collapsed in an earthquake in 2010, Radic built the House for the Poem of the Right Angle.
Entering the lot from an unpaved track that winds deep into the forest, the first thing you see is the attic of a transparent cabin built with walls of polycarbonate, where Radic and Correa’s young daughter goes to paint. Facing the cabin across a clearing, the House for the Poem of the Right Angle looks alive, a complex organism that has evolved over the last 20 years from a square to a triangle to an indefinable, multifaceted geometry. (The space where Casa A once stood remains empty; Casa Chica is now a plunge pool.) At only 1,991 square feet, the house is intimate, idiosyncratic and inscrutable, a pure emanation of Radic’s imagination. Stepping into the interior — filled with the resinous scent of the Bolivian cedar that lines its walls, floors and ceilings — feels like entering the knothole of a tree. Like the houses of Aravena and Puga, Radic’s building is an intervention in nature rather than an organic outgrowth of it. But its shape, impossible to grasp at a single glance, looks more like La Alcoba: alive, kinetic, still evolving.
In the text he published, Radic wrote, “Art and architecture have nothing to do with each other, and it’s that clarity that allows well-behaved artists and architects to work together.” Even still, he named the house after a series of lithographs and corresponding poems composed by Le Corbusier between 1947 and 1953. “I am a builder of houses and palaces,” Le Corbusier wrote in one of the later verses. “To make architecture is to make a creature.”
LIKE RADIC’S HOUSES, Chilean architecture itself has evolved from plain boxes on a blank horizon to sculptural shapes that defy gravity and, at times, obvious logic. Yet beneath their sometimes-jarring forms, these homes also share an impulse for simplicity and transparency, for rigorous patterns and radical reduction.
That transparency is perhaps best displayed in the humble Casa Gallinero, or Chicken-Coop House, built on a gentle slope in the village of Florida, an hour east of Concepción. On its surface, Casa Gallinero doesn’t deviate far from the typical form of a country house: a long, 1,500-square-foot rectangle, lifted on stilts, its two short ends made from glass, the two longer ones from corrugated white plastic roofing. By day, you could mistake it for a shed or a nursery for animals: an ordinary part of the agricultural landscape. At night, the translucent walls glow like a lantern.
The late Eduardo Castillo designed the house in 2001, at the age of 29, to replace a simple cabin that his father, Juan, had built by hand in the early 1970s. Castillo learned carpentry from his father (Juan built some of the furniture for Radic, Castillo’s colleague) and wanted to create a house that his father could construct himself: efficient, economical and honest, its final form marked by the hands that made it.
Raised in a middle-class family in rural Chile, Castillo came from the periphery of the periphery. Casa Gallinero bears little obvious resemblance to the robust, monolithic houses designed by Puga or Aravena, or even those of his close collaborator, Radic (all three architects keep offices in the same building in Santiago). And yet, says Oyarzun, who taught Castillo at P.U.C., “Eduardo represents better than anyone the material logic of this architecture: that the simplest thing done systematically can reach a level of poetry.”
Castillo died in 2017 at 45 years old, struck by a car near his office in Santiago. Though widely admired as one of Chile’s most promising young architects, he had, by then, completed only a handful of solo projects, among them a house for his older brother outside the capital and his 1997 thesis, a small chapel built at the edge of his parents’ property where it met the road. He called that project — presciently, terribly — L’animita, the term used for roadside shrines left to honor those killed in car wrecks. The chapel was, like Casa Gallinero, formally simple: a rectangular room with a peaked roof built with long, horizontal slats of timber. The project won first prize for institutional work at Chile’s 12th Biennial of Architecture, but, despite its popularity among neighbors as a quiet place to pray, fell into disrepair and finally collapsed.
In 2004, Castillo wrote an essay called “Texturing” in which he meditates on “the details of poverty,” on buildings “infected by time” and the inevitability of decay and death, which eventually come for building and architect alike. Halfway through the essay, he quotes Neruda’s manifesto, written 70 years before, and its call to perceive “the nebulous impurity of human beings.” Though their work varies widely, the new Chilean architects have created what we might call an impure architecture to match Neruda’s impure poetry: buildings with bodies, scarred by time, imbued with the knowledge that they, like us, will eventually disappear. “The paradox is the life that sprouts from that calamity,” Castillo wrote. “That is the architecture I want to find.”
Production: Patricio MardonesB:
【陌】【清】【妤】【微】【眯】【了】【眯】【清】【丽】【的】【眸】【子】。 “【你】【可】【想】【好】【了】？” 【姜】【苓】【心】【等】【不】【及】【了】【的】【问】【道】。【然】【而】【陌】【清】【妤】【却】【缓】【缓】【的】【开】【口】【答】【道】：“【不】【好】【意】【思】，【本】【王】【妃】【没】【兴】【趣】。” “【你】” “【若】【是】【我】【什】【么】【时】【候】【有】【兴】【趣】【了】，【再】【找】【你】【是】【不】【是】【也】【不】【迟】【啊】？”【陌】【清】【妤】【略】【有】【深】【意】【的】【看】【了】【姜】【苓】【心】【一】【眼】，【姜】【苓】【心】【点】【点】【头】，【面】【色】【不】【像】【之】【前】【的】【那】【么】【难】【看】：
“【师】【父】，【师】【父】，【这】【里】【好】【美】【啊】！” 【雪】【地】【之】【中】，【一】【个】【七】【八】【岁】【的】【小】【女】【孩】【跑】【来】【跑】【去】，【小】【脸】【冻】【的】【红】【扑】【扑】【的】，【却】【显】【得】【极】【为】【开】【心】。 【身】【后】【一】【个】【身】【着】【青】【色】【道】【袍】【的】【女】【人】，【缓】【缓】【踏】【雪】【而】【行】，【腰】【间】【还】【系】【着】【一】【直】【玉】【箫】。 【那】【女】【子】【看】【着】【约】【莫】【三】【十】【来】【岁】【的】【样】【子】，【容】【貌】【清】【丽】，【显】【得】【极】【为】【漂】【亮】，【从】【雪】【中】【走】【来】，【却】【没】【有】【一】【片】【雪】【花】【能】【落】【到】【她】【的】【身】【上】，【显】【然】
【连】【反】【应】【没】【那】【么】【快】【的】【楚】【禾】【父】【亲】【也】【看】【出】【闺】【女】【的】【不】【对】【劲】，【有】【些】【底】【气】【不】【足】，【继】【续】【说】【道】，“【这】【些】【钱】【也】【不】【是】【马】【上】【就】【给】，【你】【什】【么】【时】【候】【有】【什】【么】【时】【候】【给】，【反】【正】【小】【旭】【现】【在】【也】【不】【着】【急】【结】【婚】。【可】【我】【和】【你】【奶】【奶】【的】【意】【思】【是】……【你】【还】【是】【尽】【量】【的】【先】【给】【王】【秀】【玲】【道】【歉】【后】，【解】【释】【清】【楚】【这】【件】【事】【的】【来】【龙】【去】【脉】，【争】【取】【让】【她】【俩】【早】【日】【和】【好】。” 【楚】【禾】【抬】【起】【头】，【那】【眼】【神】【有】【些】【可】【怕】东方心经93期黑白图库“【您】……【何】【须】【如】【此】……【筝】【歌】【如】【何】【值】【得】？” 【寂】【静】【空】【阔】【的】【寝】【殿】【内】，【新】【晋】【的】【魔】【后】【垂】【着】【眸】，【终】【于】【问】【出】【了】【一】【直】【萦】【绕】【在】【心】【里】【的】【话】。 【他】【明】【明】【只】【是】【一】【个】【人】【类】，【身】【份】【还】【是】【仙】【尊】【之】【徒】。 “‘【朔】【月】’【于】【您】【而】【言】，【当】【是】【极】【为】【珍】【视】【之】【物】【吧】……”【不】【过】【初】【见】，【便】【毫】【无】【怪】【罪】【反】【而】【送】【了】【他】。 “【本】【是】【机】【巧】【玄】【妙】【的】【魔】【帝】【宫】……【也】【轻】【易】【让】【我】【透】【彻】【了】
“【对】【了】，【你】【们】【让】【我】【查】【的】【那】【个】【刘】【旭】【雨】【现】【在】【已】【经】【有】【些】【消】【息】【了】。”【泽】【田】【弥】【音】【开】【口】【说】【道】：“【刘】【旭】【雨】【在】【一】【年】【前】【从】【东】【京】【某】【大】【学】【的】【计】【算】【机】【系】【毕】【业】，【毕】【业】【之】【后】【因】【为】【家】【族】【遗】【传】【病】【的】【缘】【故】【导】【致】【他】【每】【个】【月】【的】【就】【医】【费】【用】【实】【在】【是】【太】【高】【了】，【所】【以】【刘】【旭】【雨】【就】【只】【能】【选】【择】【离】【开】【了】【东】【京】，【从】【此】【就】【下】【落】【不】【明】。” “【下】【落】【不】【明】？”【尹】【恩】【疑】【惑】【的】【问】【道】。 【泽】【田】【弥】【音】
【沈】【戚】【穿】【过】【她】【的】【灵】【魂】，【直】【直】【的】【往】【那】【边】【的】【丧】【尸】【走】【去】，【季】【婉】【晴】【就】【挡】【在】【他】【前】【面】，【一】【直】【推】【着】【他】。【可】【她】【所】【做】【的】【这】【些】【完】【全】【都】【是】【无】【用】【功】，【沈】【戚】【还】【是】【靠】【近】【了】【那】【丧】【尸】。 【丧】【尸】【的】【听】【觉】【异】【常】【灵】【敏】，【正】【在】【啃】【食】【别】【人】【的】【他】【已】【经】【听】【到】【了】【后】【面】【靠】【近】【的】【人】【类】，【转】【头】【对】【着】【他】【一】【声】【嘶】【吼】，【伸】【着】【僵】【硬】【的】【手】【臂】【往】【他】【这】【边】【奔】【来】。 【眼】【看】【丧】【尸】【就】【要】【咬】【上】【沈】【戚】【了】，【而】【系】【统】
【这】【就】【被】【强】【行】【收】【为】【记】【名】【弟】【子】【了】？ 【这】【都】【什】【么】【玩】【意】【儿】？【一】【个】【先】【天】【境】【五】【重】【天】【的】【强】【者】【真】【要】【收】【弟】【子】，【报】【名】【的】【人】【还】【不】【排】【起】【长】【龙】？【还】【用】【得】【着】【像】【拉】【壮】【丁】【一】【样】？ 【许】【靖】【敢】【打】【赌】，【这】【里】【面】【绝】【对】【有】【猫】【腻】，【如】【果】【没】【有】，【朱】【轩】【吃】【屎】！ 【许】【靖】【心】【里】【在】【认】【真】【的】【思】【索】【一】【个】【问】【题】，【面】【对】【先】【天】【五】【重】【天】【的】【强】【者】，【能】【跑】【的】【掉】【吗】？ 【打】【也】【打】【不】【过】，【跑】【也】【跑】【不】【掉】，