Juan Pablo Ureta designs a refuge in the middle of the ocean
Framing the green landscape of Huentelauquén, ChileCasa Las Vizcachas by Juan Pablo Ureta organizes all the living spaces around a private courtyard. The architecture is inspired by the nearby rock formations, transforming them into a succession of habitable volumes and embellishing them with voids and patios of various sizes and shapes. The beach lodgewhich is entirely in laminate frameworkaims to provide a place that conveys a sense of refuge in the midst of this enormous and unfathomable expanse that is the ocean.
all pictures by Nico Saieh
a beach house that turns to itself
Casa Las Vizcachas by Juan Pablo Ureta presents a specific program divided into three blocks. The first and largest unit houses the master bedroom, a private bathroom, and an integrated living room, dining room, and kitchen. The second unit accommodates the bedroom of the owner’s daughter, while it also includes a guest bedroom and a large bathroom. Although the two elements touch tangentially, the only way to pass from one element to the other is through the terraces. Later, a small sports hall was erected in a slightly twisted third volume.
A ramp and a small patio, configured by an exposed concrete wall, provide access to the residential complex. Crossing this area, it is possible to see the central patio foreshortened. The various elements of the patio contribute to making it the central point of the project and to improving the experience of living outside: a network of walkways that connects the volumes and organizes the numerous terraces, an elliptical in concrete that acts as a fireplace, and an “endless” swimming pool that, rather than stretching towards the sea, faces the patio, reinforcing its position . The entire area is divided by a 21 meter long glulam beam which not only spans the entire length of the main volume roof structure, but also serves to ‘frame’ this small area from the surrounding landscape.
Although it is designed as a beach house, the structure moves away from this typology by turning towards itself. It creates visual links with the sea and the surrounding fauna, but it does not fully open up to the natural environment. This results in a unique experience that is different from going to sit by the sea, while still providing the opportunity to enjoy the beach.
made of 100% glued laminated wood
The house is built on a concrete slab that protrudes from the ground. In addition, the house is made of 100% glued laminated wood. All structural elements and interior walls were prefabricated in a factory located 800 km from the site and transported by truck. In this way, the Chilean architect was able to save time in construction and also minimize the impact on the environment.
The exterior cladding is in ribbed Raul, while the main frame is in laminated pine. The interiors, on the other hand, are covered with Coigüe – a decision made with the aim of creating translucent spaces connected to the environment. The 9 meter long glazed facade that separates the social sections from the central patio can be fully opened, creating a unique and spacious setting in which the borders seem to merge. Nevertheless, the space is contained and protected, thanks to the upper beam, the wooden lattice design of the north wall and other structural elements.