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2016 MCHAP

Vaulted House

Cecilia Puga

Los Vilos, Chile

January 2014


Cecilia Puga


Nicolás Norero (Collaborator Architect) Pedro Bartolomé (Structural Engineer)


Inmobiliaria Quilimarí Ltda


Gonzalo Puga


The program has been divided up in two areas. All the public areas and the master bedroom share a continuous plan of polished concrete within a single, delimited space. Below this level, a number of spaces extend that basic unit according to specific seasonal demands, thus enabling the house to contract or expand. A significant feature of the design is the vaulted concrete membrane that covers the upper floor, hovering over the open plan where social activities take place. The vault is an element that has been present in the vernacular architecture since long ago; 20th century architecture re-elaborated it during the 50’s and ‘60’s because of its constructive qualities and efficiency. The project recovers the vaults as long, folded concrete beams that create ample interiors and large spans with minimum support. The reduction of the number of structural elements falling in the ground results in a flexible, continuous open plan capable to change and adapt to different demands through the days and the years. At the same time, the vaulted concave space provides a continuous but full of nuances interior space, and a memorable experience.


From the back of the property, the house appears as a compact, autonomous piece sitting on the site. It presents to the visitor as a continuous and massive entity on the coastal landscape. The opposite side faces the sea and what seemed monolithic now dissolves: the interior opens to the sunlight and the views. Both sides are part of the diverse reality of this weekend house, allowing an intimate connection to the distant horizon and the rhythm of the sea whereas retaining a protected realm devoted to family life.


The north-south orientated vaults present an optimum surface to minimize the solar radiation on the roof. The terrace of the upper floor acts as large concrete eaves that protect the bedrooms below from sun in summer and allows sunlight to come in during winter. Attached to the natural slope, the lower floor uses the mass of the earth to balance its thermic dynamics. Only low maintenance materials were employed in the construction.

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