On the Chilean coast, the Pacific Ocean is in view from a geometric gem of a house designed by Veronica Arcos. The architect had two goals – creating optimal thermal insulation and framing the unique environment the house landed on.

A wood construction, the family beach house is clad in pine wood and is held up through an OSB structure. To insulate it sustainably, mineral wool and a zinc coating were used. The general volume could be seen as a tubular organisation, where the living spaces are laid out linearly within a rectangular slot that fills the layered skin. A subtle play on the roof and exterior wall surfaces creates dramatic edges. The house is nine meters high at its highest point and dips to four meters at its lowest.

The layers of this exterior skin can be read in two ways. Firstly, a section through the wall shows its double skin façade system, generating a cross-ventilation unit to maintain a comfortable temperature through the warmer months of the year. Secondly, the house is a layering of pinewood slats. Each slat ‘frame’ has a different outline creating the overall geometry that plays on a visual illusion of subtly convex surfaces.

The choice of the exterior cladding’s colour comes from the architect’s vision of the surroundings. ‘It integrates well with the colours of the environment, creating a dialogue with the landscape,’ explains Arcos. The dark tone of the vegetation around the house embraces the dark brown cladding. As the sun sets, a mysterious outline with intriguing shadows form in this volume of ‘curved’ surfaces.

Location Pichicuy, Valparaíso, Chili