When a project makes use of natural materials that are abundant in the area, the results almost always feel especially harmonious with the setting. That’s definitely true for this beautiful modern retreat featuring two cantilevered upper stories that give it the look of a telescope gazing out at the view.
Designed for a challenging steeply sloped site, “Casa Rapel” sites on the edge of Lake Rapel, about two hours from the city of Santiago in Chile. While the bones of the house are made of steel and concrete, architecture firm Hsü Rudolphy wanted to give it a “skin” of wood that would warm it up and create a cohesive transition to the trees outside.
As a result, it’s wrapped in pine inside and out. The horizontal cladding on the exterior is covered in a protective treatment that darkens the tone to avoid sharp contrasts with the steel and protect it from the elements. In Chile, pine is one of the most common and economical types of native wood available, so it’s all locally sourced.
“We wanted to find simple solutions, simple finishes, but arranged efficiently, to achieve an optimal result for users, with low maintenance and high durability and finally move their inhabitants with the quality of the spaces and their relation with the landscape.”
The design of the house aims to create minimal interference with the natural setting, so its three levels are staggered to follow the line of the slope without building into it. This also protects it from erosion. Everything is oriented toward the lake to maximize those all-important views.