Casa La Cañada, Chile | Ricardo Torrejón

This house in La Canadá area of Santiago in Chile integrates with the garden through its full height, floor-to-ceiling windows at its fully open back elevation. 

Designed by Chilean architect Ricardo Torrejón, the concrete building has a sculptural, cubic form that replaced a pre existing house on the site in order to create a better relationship to the garden. Slit like openings are curved at the front and side elevations, creating semi covered courtyards.

The house has a minimal impact, remaining neutral and silent with its materiality and colors that merge, instead of competing with nature.

Photography © Cristóbal Palma

Description from architect Ricardo Torrejon: 

This house is set on a 1,060 square metre site in the last flat urban area of eastern Santiago before the Andes begin. The plot is 15m wide by 67m length with an existing garden with mature 40 year old trees.

The original house, built back in the 70's, took no particular advantage of the garden. Despite being uninhabited for almost 20 years the backyard was luckily well preserved and felt like a forgotten park. Instead of remodelling, we decided to build a house from scratch. The relationship to the garden, particularly to the existing trees, should be in the foreground.

We thought that architecture should not compete with nature; on the contrary, it should enhance its presence, colours and lights. Architecturally we had to remain neutral and silent in both material and colour in order to let nature play its part.

The house is a solid monolithic concrete block opened up through carvings instead of windows and openings. Externally, each carving becomes a place itself, some fitting just a single person, others more.

Internally, they are a sort of glazed prisms letting light in and natural ventilation and allowing frontal and diagonal views as well as an internal see-through between contiguous rooms.

The most direct result of this carving operation is that the garden is present everywhere in the house. Even in rooms on the opposite side of the house it is possible to have a glimpse of it.

Plans © Courtesy of Ricardo Torrejón

Source: Dezeen