Editor’s note: This chapter is excerpted from Oasis: Modern Desert Homes Around the World, a new book showcasing inspiring retreats ranging from the super sleek to the rustic and down-to-earth.
Three hours from Santiago, the capital of Chile, sits a town called Huentelauquén. As you head north out of the big city, the lush landscape begins to transform into a desert, which is what attracted Mauricio Bruna-Fruns here. In 2009, in his final year at architecture school, he was scouting with Ursula Oliva Reveco, who would later become his partner in their studio. They were looking for a place to build something manageable and humble that could be a natural getaway for Mauricio’s parents. Mauricio was seeking an area with a stable climate that wouldn’t be too extreme and would afford a view of the Pacific Ocean. Huentelauquén called to him.
Set as close to the ocean as they could possibly get it, B8 sits on land that was intended for farming, gifted by the government to the Chilean people in the 1960s. When the land refused to yield a crop, the project was abandoned and the acreage returned to its wild state.
The house, originally built by Mauricio and Ursula in 2009 and remodeled in 2019, is a simple rectangle constructed from wood, concrete, and steel, situated parallel to the beach to let the ocean seem to flow through the house.
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Driven by the stress of the big city, Mauricio wanted to create a relaxing space designed around the kitchen, an essential gathering spot for him. A long concrete island houses a cooktop and invites you to pull up a stool and participate in the meal prep. From there, two bedrooms spring to either side, separated by an outdoor space, with a walkway leading down to the ocean. This configuration allows as much privacy and separation as guests want to create for themselves, but both bedrooms are glass cubes that invite the outside in. A fireplace and grill anchor the patio, all but daring you to cook up dinner and settle in with a beer for a night of unparalleled stargazing and listening to the sounds of the waves.
Simplicity is the name of the game here at B8. The young architects were working with a limited budget, but the house feels like a space created with deep intention.
Reprinted from Oasis. Copyright © 2020 by iO Tillett Wright. Photographs copyright © 2020 by Casey Dunn. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
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