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Prism House + Room/Terrace

Smiljan Radić

Conguillio, Chile

September 2018


Smiljan Radić


Cristian Fuhrop


Carolina Correa


Cristóbal Palma


Seen as traces or ghosts of a future we should be subjected to, we have been working on a series of deviations exercised on found objects such as the narrative condensation in Catherine Malabou's essay "Alienocene-Disjunction", illustrated in an image created for the exhibition Life and Prison (a collaboration between gta Exhibitions at ETH Zurich, e-flux Architecture and Catherine Malabou), Kazuo Shinohara's Prism House (1974), my earlier project The Room in Chiloé (1995), and the terrace of Hasedera temple in Nara, Japan. All of them are quoted in Prism House + Room/Terrace.
The images of the referenced buildings are collected on the slope of the natural terrain that lies beneath your feet. From there you can see the river of dead lava as a trace recalling the last eruption of the Llaima volcano nearby. This relationship to the landscape is perhaps the only real excuse for the encounter of these far-apart constructions. In a way, bringing these pieces together is not an exercise in interpretation but in repetition and replication; it's to do something for a second time without actually doing so, even if the gods and the honest architects grow angry, even if the attempt is continually thwarted.


The project relays on a flat platform that hovers over the steep mountain skirts around the Llaima Volcano. The sloping terrain runs freely underneath the terrace from where one can see the immense black lava landscape. Standing on this artificial, light ground, two sharp prisms manage to create a more intimate scale facing a remote and vast territory. At the same time, they build separated domestic realms in spite of their proximity.


This is a mountain retreat built upon primary geometrical structures: a rectangular platform, a section of a cube and a 7.2 meters isosceles triangle made of steel and timber. To deal with the remote location of the site, these shapes were constructed balancing redundancy and purge, as the work maximizes extensive, basic and inexpensive labor whereas it employs a few large, efficient prefabricated pieces. The project proposes two small self-sufficient buildings connected through a flat terrace. These two houses maintain their levels of privacy and at the same time become an inseparable, compact unit. This strange urbanity allows the amiable coexistence of two households in the midst of the woods.

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