This Unusual Structure Melds a Traditional Chilean “Quincho” With a Bauhaus Aesthetic

Drawing inspiration from artist László Moholy-Nagy’s abstract work, this barbecue and meditation space uses simple geometry to astounding effect.

Located in the foothills of Villarica Volcano near Pucón, Chile, architect José Peña's 450-square-foot quincho was designed with meditation and relaxation in mind.

A concrete bench is an exterior extension of the barbecue area. Tables can be placed in front of this additional seating to help accommodate more people during a meal.

On their wooded acre plot, the owners requested that Peña create a traditional Chilean barbecue that also could serve as a place for swimming and reflecting.

Just over an acre, the residential property is covered in oak trees and volcanic rock.

The abstract geometric artwork of Hungarian artist and Bauhaus professor László Moholy-Nagy was used as a launching point for the space.

A rendering of the quincho shows the geometric forms.

"Through these connections and proportions of exploration, we created our own painting that highlights different spatial intentions," says Peña. "The shapes don't deny the fullness that surround them, but are part of them, with only a couple of subtle lines that grant the function of inhabiting." 

The roof is sloped so that rainwater rolls downward into the warm-water pool.

Much like Moholy-Nagy’s geometric compositions, the structure is a circle with various linear intersections, such as the walkway leading to the entrance, and the external wall that also divides the circular structure into two — the barbecue area and pool area. Another wall segments the interior, dividing the public (barbecue) and private (bathroom) spaces.

The exterior is painted black and has a wood-grain texture imprinted into its concrete material.

The structure is nestled into the earth and then slightly tilted upward to create an access portal.

A minimal palette — stone porcelain floor, concrete walls, and pine ceiling — creates a soothing, earthy interior. Inside there is a cooking area with a wood stove for barbecuing.

The concrete wall also "mutates" into a bench where people can sit and eat or observe the pool. There also is a bathroom with a skylight connecting it to the great outdoors.

Windows encapsulate the circular structure and in the evening light pours outward into the forest, illuminating the surrounding trees.

The quincho was designed as a way to immerse oneself in nature with various perspectives allowing the viewer to be one with the great outdoors.

The retaining wall of the pool "mutates" into a long concrete bench that is used for seating.

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The circular structure is nestled into the earth, so that when sitting inside the viewer is at eye level with the earth and water outside. Existing at the same level as nature, the viewer is able to see the rocks, trees, grass, and water from an honest perspective.

While most of the quincho is open, the bathroom is closed off for privacy.

The existing landscaping also is reflected into the semi-circular warm-water pool; so, if inside the structure looking out, the viewer still feels cloistered among the trees.

In the cooking area, an open fire is used for barbecuing.

The cylindrical structure is tilted, creating an access portal and roof slope allowing rainwater to trickle down into the swimming pool.

Benches were created along the pool's retaining wall so that the observer can sit at the same level as the water.

In the evenings, the windows allow light to pour out of the disk and into the forest. "The idea was that the forest was the most important part," explains Peña, "so at night some or most of the trees have a light that illuminates them."

The warm-water pool is used for both swimming and reflecting.

Large boulders that surround the exterior of the structure act as hardscaping and additional organic seating that can be used when hosting large groups of people.

A stone porcelain floor, concrete walls and a pine ceiling create a soothing interior.

Related Reading: A Little Chilean Tree House That's One With the Canopy

Project credits:

Architect: José Peña

 Builder/general contractor: Ciclo Construccion

Structural engineer: German Spoerer


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