At first glance, Casa W appears to be a fortress that protects against the elements and windy weather of Huentelauquen, Chile, but in its own ways, the house embraces its natural surroundings. Architects at 01ARQ extend the rectangular footprint of the house to include two large courtyards enclosed by walls of dark pine that serve to block winds as well as provide privacy. One of these spaces continues the glass-encased living room into a makeshift beach, furnished with soft sand and striped beach chairs along with a view of the ocean a few miles away. While walls are built around the bedroom spaces, the kitchen, dining room, and living room have slender columns as structural support, allowing an expanse of open space and an unobstructed blending of interior and exterior boundaries. Furthermore, the double-glazed windows that run along the house’s west, shore-facing side are built on different tracks so that they may be opened freely to let in a gentle breeze. Part of the residence sits on a concrete bed for easy car access, and the other is built on wooden planks, a sort of private boardwalk that elevates the house from the sloping terrain to create the illusion of the entire structure being afloat on the ocean’s waves.

Images ©Aryeh Kornfeld, Mauricio Fuertes

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Kimberly

Kimberly is a graduate from MIT's Department of Architecture, and has recently joined the publication team at MIT OpenCourseWare. While architecture remains her first love, her interests encompass literature – epic poetry and Medieval romances are her favorite – and also fashion.

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