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El Gauchal House / Iván Bravo

El Gauchal House / Iván Bravo

El Gauchal House is situated a few meters from the coast, facing the bay of Navidad in the central-southern zone of Chile. In the surroundings, a forest, typical of the transverse valleys of the country, converges with the previously industrial coastline, now being redeveloped as a holiday destination.

Contrary to the typical construction typology of the Chilean coastal zone, the volume is erected vertically over the landscape, in an aim to reach privileged views on the upper-level terrace, while avoiding the obstructions of nearby houses. Standing in this way, the volume’s liberation from the ground allows for the displacement of the typological distribution of a beach house, generating new relationships and programmatic associations on the vertical axis. This provokes a change in the spatial composition of the rooms that affect their perception: spaces that are extremely reduced serve others that are quite large, conforming a small total surface whose visual weight is magnified. This is achieved by the reduced width in contrast to an exacerbated height, and by the scale and location of the windows on the façade, that also contribute to this deliberately undefinable scale.

ph: Bruno Giliberto

The project constantly repeats the same operations in plan and section, so there is a reciprocate connection that blur the existence of a unique orientation of the house. This happens in the formal composition, where the plan and section silhouette are identical, and also in the organization of program that is comprise of three areas in each of the three floors. 

ph: Bruno Giliberto

In the interior, a central void roams the building in its entirety, containing the circulation areas while enlarging the spatial perception of common areas. There are four private rooms, one for each family, that are distributed on each floor at both extremes of the house, ensuring that all spaces are equally close to the center. The sizes of the rooms are also identical, avoiding any type of exclusivity between families. With this typology, the house is lived like a small hotel where no one is the owner of anything and all shares in equal condition the space, suppressing any kind of hierarchy. 

On the exterior, the massing is sculpted using a single operation for the main façade and the roof: both are minimally folded according to the same aesthetic criteria, echoing the roof’s slopes on the wall facing the road. In this way, the typically clear division between the roof and the outer walls is blurred. This cross between perpendicular and oblique axes produces the synergy that, like a unique language, compose each element of the project: its position within the limits of the site, the exterior pavements that fill this space and the windows that pierce the facades.  

ph: Bruno Giliberto

The house was entirely built of wood and only the floors are made of concrete, smooth and polished in the exterior while grainy and rougher in the interior. Both interior and exterior walls are covered in raw planks, with different finishes that allude both to the condition to which they respond, as to its counterpart: the interior is covered with an inert and atemporal grey that tends to eliminate the newly built status of the house, while the exterior is a pristine white that is exposed to the extreme conditions of the coast, like a cuirass or a plumage that shines while also protects.

DATE: 2019-2020 (project), 2020 (construction) / LOCATION: Navidad, Chile / AREA: 340 m2 (Site Area), 111 m2 (Built Area) / PROGRAM: single family house / STATUS: built / DESIGN: Iván Bravo / COLLABORATORS: Martín Rojas, Gino León / CLIENT: Bravo Álvarez Family / CONSTRUCTION: Williams Farías / CONSULTANTS: Pedro Bartolomé (Structure) / TEXT: Martín Rojas, Blanca Valdés (Translation) / PHOTOS: Bruno Giliberto

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