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Ochoalcubo House

Sebastián Irarrázaval

The guiding idea of the project “ochoalcubo” is something of a utopian resolution: to build high quality, high efficiency residential buildings giving full freedom of design to the architects. The first phase of the venture is materialising in Chile at a tourist resort called Marbella 160 kms north from the capital Santiago. The site forms part of a whole ‘village’ extending to the building of hotels, conference centres, communal facilities and a golf course. The attractions of this site as it shelves towards the ocean are set off by the landscaping project. Juan Grimm, in charge of this, intervenes sparingly, picking out the natural cornice of sea coast and sloping foothill. Eduardo Godoy, the mind behind the whole scheme, summoned eight Chilean architects of differing generations, all with study/work experience at an international level, to put on a concerted operation sharing certain aims and parameters. 

The architects are: Christian de Groote, Mathias Klotz, José Cruz, Teodoro Fernández, Sebastián Irarrázaval, Cecilia Puga, Smiljan Radic and Cristián Valdés. The design programme has some common denominators: the basic idea is to create houses of a certain calibre with a constant eye on the surrounding landscape, to be integrated as a feature into the visual scheme of what is a compact, four-square built-up area. Scale is another constant of “ochoalcubo”: a high standard of villa or holiday home, meaning an average surface area of 250-300 m2. Use of living space and the relation with the sun factor are reminiscent of Mediterranean architecture, as are the ideas to vary the composition: simple units go to form the volumes on a linear, cube-like, even angular plan, at times with an understated suggestion of the monumental, say by accentuating the impact of an outside staircase.Living areas layout hinges on open sequence and distribution, the offsetting and...

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