T House by Cazú Zegers

This house is located at Aculeo lake, a place well known for being a favorite of water sports lovers. The site has an extraordinary geographic placement, right in front of the Altos de Cantillana mountain range, a world class hot spot for biodiversity. It owes its name to the area where the Coastal mountain range reaches its highest point: 2280 meters.

The site is very steep and has a great variety of native plants mixed with foreign species, mostly fruit trees. These trees have been there for a long time, before this project they had a family house there, but it no longer served adequately the needs of a growing family.

The request is to design a house that works as a meeting space for of 3 generations of family members, approximately 18 people, kids, and adults. The house will be used mainly on weekends, where all the activities run around water sports. The project is considered as a family lodge.

The two main characteristics of the site -steep terrain with a wide variety of plants- lead our design starting point: we decided to use the foundation platform of the old house as a base, and built on this surface a vertical four story volume, that connects with the terrain only to configure the pedestrian access to the house. The rest of the building will be left “floating” over the site.

The poetic word, in this case, is the letter T, in an extreme search for something simple, relating to the vernacular approach towards the occupation of the land.

The main building is a vertical volume where we placed the bedrooms, this is connected to a transparent pavilion, with impressive views towards the landscape. The common areas are located in an open plan setting, with the kitchen connected to the living areas. This volume, 6 meters high from the foundation platform, builds different ways to inhabit the place: on the base, there is a great fire to warm up the living areas allowing us to eat under a roof but still in an open space close to the water. On the top, there is an open terrace with a light roof, where we overlook the surroundings.

The pavilion is suspended over the landscape, resting on top of V shaped steel pillars, that let us use the perimeter to open big windows. This allows the T house to have a continuous relationship between inside and the outside.

This system is crowned by an upper terrace with sunshades. The main structure is made of steel beams and column, covered with SIP panels, that allow us great thermal isolation. These panels are covered with 1” x 6” wooden strips placed horizontally. The outside skin was originally thought to be made in coligue cain, but it resulted too expensive because of the treatments needed for this material to be installed outside. Then we opted for 2” x 1” wooden stripes, to generate a delicate outer skin.

Architect: Cazu Zegers G.,
Team Members: Grupo Aira (Francisco Garcia Huidobro)
Location: Chile Bahia Catalina, Aculeo Lagoon, Metropolitan Region- Chile
Client: EstruderS.A
Project Year: 2009
Construction Year: 2010-2011
Site Area: 10.935 m2
Built Area: 489 m2
Construction: Alex Hasenlechner
Structural calculations: Jury Torres
Technical Inspection: Eduardo Cortez
Electrical Engineering: Sergio Alemparte
Sanitary Engineering: Simona Simonatti
Illumination: Romel Clavero, Opendark
Structure: Steel and beam
Decks: Wood beams of laminated pi, lenga boardings, OSB plates, membrane asfáltica, final termination in tenga boarding
Walls: SIP panel coated in Arauco pinewood
Windows: PVC and thermo panel
Pavements Terminations: Pinewood boarding
Ceilings Terminations: Acoustic ceiling with prime lenga 1” x 2”, with a 30mm separation
Coatings and Furnishing: Unpolished and brushed Lenga native wood.

Photos © Sebastián Sepúlveda

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