Spotlight on Chilean Architect Mathias Klotz

Known for thoughtfully constructed modular homes that embrace their surroundings, award-winning Chilean architect Mathias Klotz has developed a distinctive language that's all his own.

An active filmmaker and photographer in addition to his architecture practice—which spans over 30 years—Klotz, together with the 2016 Pritzker Prize-winning Alejandro Aravena, is the most internationally renowned Chilean architect today. Integrating interiors and exteriors, his modular contemporary homes play with light and shadow to dramatic effect. Firmly rooted in modernist traditions, Klotz uses timber and exposed concrete to connect his structures with the often rugged, coastal landscapes in which they sit.

Below, we take a look at some spectacular examples of this talented architect's work.

Casa Raúl, Aculeo, Chile, 2007

A vacation home commissioned by a good friend, Klotz designed Casa Raúl like he was designing a home for himself. Little did he know, the home would one day become his own. Close to Santiago in the Andean foothills overlooking Lake Aculeo, the uneven topography of the site presented a special challenge for the architect. The home also needed to be accessible for the client's disabled son, with wide circulation areas on a single level. Unfortunately, a few years after completion, the client was forced to sell the home, but asked Klotz to help him with the process. Klotz asked for the keys to take a few photos, and upon seeing the stunning lake view from the terrace, called his friend to tell him that he had found his buyer. Casa Raúl is now Klotz's family weekend refuge. 

Klotz's first commission was the privilege of designing a beach home for his mother, who had inherited a bit of money after separating from his father. With a limited budget and a somewhat remote beach locale, Klotz created low-maintenance refuge—which he initially sketched on graph paper while on a flight. His mother loved it, and the architect claims, "To date, it is the only project I have completed without making changes." He describes, "The project served and continues to serve as a starting point and endpoint insofar as it represents what I consider to be the essential aspects of a building."

Casa 11 Mujeres (Eleven Women) is a holiday home 140 kilometers north of Santiago de Chile, situated on a sloping site with a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean. The client had requested a second home which would accommodate their with 11 daughters ranging in age (at the time) from four to 24 years old. Spread over three levels, the design of the home is site-specific and adapted to the needs of the family—including bedrooms for the 11 daughters. Planned in bare concrete with travertine floors, every room offers dramatic views and spacious terraces which protect the inhabitants from the strong southern winds. 

A holiday home located in the north part of Nahuel Huapi Lake, in the Lake District of Argentinian Patagonia, Casa Techos is set between the trees on the lower level of the site. The public and family spaces occupy the ground level, and guest rooms and service areas are on the lower level. Challenges included meeting local standards requiring that the roof have a minimum slope, and providing for the client's request for ample natural lighting. The use of terraces and patios increases the perimeter and, along with the skylights, they generate a interplay between interior and exterior spaces. 

Built from Ipe and exposed concrete, this holiday refuge appears to be emerging from the rocks of its rugged seaside landscape. Located in a fishing village 50 miles north of Punta del Este, on the Atlantic Ocean, the double sloped site of La Roca House is edged by rocks and the remains of the foundation of a pre-existing building which now forms a natural garden of succulents. The home is defined through a sequence of spaces, which consist of two modules of the same height, generating two patios in their voids. The main volume was designed for the social space, and the second for the family's private space—and includes a master bedroom with a stunning panoramic view of the surroundings. 


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