A Simple Geometric Bayfront Home in Chile

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By Kelsey Keith
Mathias Klotz’s first project, a deceptively simple bayfront house in Chile was commissioned by his mom on a shoestring budget.

In 1991, after Isabel Germain separated from her husband and inherited some money from her mother, she decided to build a one-of-a-kind refuge on a remote beach outside Tongoy, Chile. Luckily, her $20,000 budget went far with her architect of choice: her son, Mathias Klotz.

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The northern facade, which faces the water, takes in the view via double-height windows in the main living room, plus terraces punched into the second floor.

Klotz—who sketched the layout on an airplane napkin and says that, to date, "it’s the only project I have completed without making changes"—designed the beach house as a low-cost dwelling that requires little maintenance. To this day, the Klotz family still spends the summer and occasional long weekends in their getaway. As for its architectural legacy, Klotz says of his earliest completed project, "It represents what I consider to be the essential aspects of a building."

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Situated between a bay and a coastal mountain range, Casa Klotz makes a powerful geometric contrast to its isolated natural surroundings.