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Fernando Alda, Chile, Casa La Roja

A Program of Contrast: The Red House in the Mountains of Chile

Amid the broad, unspoilt Cordillera region of Chile, a small house is drawing all glances its way. The gleaming red colour of the two-storey house by Chilean studio Felipe Assadi Arquitectos presents a program of contrast against the green mountain ridges. Named for its colour, the house stands in a sparsely populated area where lots measure around 5,000 m² - isolated and with little visual contact to the neighbouring buildings.

The architects formed the 87-m² holiday house by means of well-considered subtractions from a simple cube. The exterior walls feature windows of various sizes and is equipped with a covered verandah on the east side of the house. Part of the roof and floor plate on the upper level were deliberately cut out in order to allow daylight into the lower areas.

The ground floor is home to an open kitchen and a living room. From here, a rail-less stairway of wood and metal leads to the two ensuite bedrooms upstairs. Modularity and symmetry are important factors of this meticulous design, which enables future expansion of the house. The built-on-site starting volume comprises four prefabricated modules of 8.40 by 3.50 metres respectively. Eventually, new models can be added to the sides of both the lower and upper levels and connected to the central stairway via the side corridor.

The interior of the house presents a marked contrast to the outside: here, light-coloured wood tones dominate, as does the black of the stairway construction and window frames. However, it is not colour alone that makes the new building stand apart from the landscape. With a system of gravel, cement and wood, the fiery walls seem to detach from the natural terrain. This detail only serves to accentuate the sculptural effect of the red house on the Rio Maípo.

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