When Pablo and Daniela, a young couple with three children, decided to build a compact weekend getaway near their family farm in the Chilean commune of El Peumo, they turned to an architect familiar with both the landscape and the couple’s design values—their relative and friend Cristián Izquierdo Lehmann.
Since the vacation house would be used as a rural escape from city life in Santiago, Lehmann wanted the House in El Peumo to "foster living together and to be open to the outside in all directions, as an open terrace in the middle of the landscape," he says.
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In unifying the communal functions in a central, square-shaped family room perpendicularly surrounded by four equal-sized bedroom wings, the architect created a floor plan in the form of a pinwheel—a recurring shape in his work that shows his preference for gridded layouts and exacting, orthogonal forms.
To achieve precise measurements in his design, Lehmann built the 1,754-square-foot home around fixed "modules"—two-foot-long units of measure that became his way of "measuring the natural surroundings against a constant structure and makes explicit the similarities and differences of every part and surrounding."
The central 576-square-foot living room, for instance, is bounded on each side by 12 modules. The room’s four large glazed pocket doors that open to outdoor patios are five modules each, or 10 feet in width, while the adjoining wall comprises seven modules for a width of 14 feet. "Each wall hosts a specific use—bookshelves, closets, kitchen or chimney—and an equal door at its corner," adds Lehmann.
The architect applied the 5:7 ratio of the central room to determine the form and pitch of the roof, which consists of four sets of three triangular zinc planes placed in a symmetric rotation around the central skylight to create a dramatic vaulted ceiling in the living room.
The minimal finishes and exposed construction celebrate the home’s mathematical precision. Pine was used as the primary construction material, chosen "because of its low carbon-print, cheapness, and expressive possibilities," explains Lehmann. "The structure is made of laminated pine and is left uncovered, making explicit the constant measures and joints that rule the project."
He continues, "The symmetric rotation of this asymmetrical form produces the figure of a whirlwind, thus blurring the difference of the concave center and the horizontal perimeter into an organic totality."
Builder/ General Contractor: Carlos Olivares
Structural Engineer: Osvaldo Penaloza