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Trancura House

A Framed View of a Volcano

Labarca Martinez Architects

Trancura House
By Caterina Testa -

Close to the border with Argentina in southern Chile, east of the small town of Pucón, the Trancura River valley in the Villarrica Nature Reserve is a medley of wide grassy fields and densely forested slopes. Visible from both valley and hills, the majestic Villarrica volcano is a constant landmark, presenting ever changing aspects depending on your observation point.
The program of Trancura House, on the southern bank of the river of the same name, allows occupants to enjoy the splendid natural setting. Designed by architects Labarca-Martinez, the holiday home has been built deep in the countryside on a slight rise at the edge of a forest. From its 1-ha plot, the property enjoys a magnificent view of the volcano.
Labarca-Martinez place great emphasis on close interchange with their clients, even if at times it entails lengthy talking points. In the case of Trancura House, the client wanted a holiday home that could accommodate the whole family during vacations but also allow just the owner to be in residence without feeling oppressed by too much empty space. The house also had to be built among the trees but at the same time have views over the landscape. 
In constant dialogue with the client, Labarca-Martinez progressed the various design aspects contemporaneously: overall volume, detailing of the spatial distribution, and construction details. This constant transition between different scales allowed them to explore the whole project from different angles and test how everything fitted together. 
The architects developed a 5x15 m rectangular volume whose long sides face the volcano to the front and the forest to the back. In order to minimize the building’s footprint and leave most of the lot intact, the ground floor occupies only 40% of the whole, maximum-height, three-story volume of some 250 sq. m.
References to the natural and cultural context are clearly evident in the articulation of the house,...

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