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2014 MCHAP.emerge

Kiltro House

Juan Pablo Corvalan / Susuka / Supersudaca

Talca, Chile

September 2008


Juan Pablo Corvalan / Susuka


Gabriel Vergara (co-author)


Oscar Corvalan


Cristobal Palma


During the design and executing process, we could not label the resulting architectural outcome. Depending on the point of view some strict influences were recognizable, further steps forward, other seemed predominant. Initially, a steel frame square plan evolved into a triangulated three-dimensional wooden skin. Certain references were explicit, for instance, a nearby recently finished house by Smiljian Radic (Copper house 2). We critically attempted to push the construction system and patio organization. Of course we loved the Misiean glass box, but we had to protect it with the wooden wrap to avoid overheating, this allowed an interesting continuous “pli” spatial organization connecting all levels in a “promenade”. Afterwards we learned by Sofia Saavedra -also member of Supersudaca- that John Hedjuk used the 3.6 x 3.6 meter grid as an exercise. Finally, a colleague pointed out that the house included a strange interpretation of Le Corbusier’s 5 points for a new architecture: Pilotis, roof terrace, “fenetre en longuer”, free plan and free structure. A last comment was that the project had no particular DNA, it rather had a resemblance to the crossbreed dog that guarded the site, in Chile colloquially so-called Kiltros, this made sense and the project found its name: The Kiltro House.


The Chilean Central Valley is characterized with an impressive natural landscape, efficient agricultural industry and expanding cities with weak planning. Within this context, suburban residential areas are rapidly implemented in rural areas ruled by a demanding market for housing before the slow state plan tools can define an urban code. Agro-plots are subdivided in a minimum 5000 square meters, and allows maximum of one residential unit (plus a house keeper and/or garage), promoting an aggressive –involuntary- suburban city expansion. The percentage of floor occupation is almost ridiculous. Nevertheless conditions change rapidly and soon in a 10-year range it may become an integrated part of the city. The specific plot were the project is located is very steep -the last one to be sold as very difficult to build- but with a fabulous view to the Andes mountain range and originally to a cattle and farming area that became during the design and building process an extended vineyard. Also, no neighboring buildings ended with a very heterogeneous sample of social aspirations: from a remembrance of colonial architecture to literally a castle emulation, yes, the tale is known as the owner said “I’m a princess, I deserve a castle”. Acknowledging the exposed context, our critical approach to the project became the whiling to open our architectural training to unexpected possibilities and denial preformatted formulas without refusing our influences in a promiscuous multi-referential operation.


The Kiltro house requires to cope with a budget, extreme climate temperature variations of the central Chilean valley (up to 20º between night and day) and very intense structural demands. As a program, it was required to be an easy maintenance small house that could welcome numerous visitors. Structure is important in Chile due to earthquakes. The attempt was to avoid the common perforated rigid box and the cross bracings praise. Geometrically, the frame is a mixture of an uninterrupted orthogonal frame to a triangulated system towards ramps and the roof terrace. Plus, out of the box extensions allowed outline sunscreens and covered porches. Steel worked as a flexible light, fast structure seamlessly complemented with dry panels, insulation, double-glazing and wood. The whole, as a combination, was left exposed to what appealed to be a beautiful logic of nuances. A metaphorical dialog is established with the surrounding landscape, hills and mountains almost instinctively with the geometric results of the initial rational procedure.

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