House at Los Vilos, Chile, by Ryue Nishizawa
Ryue Nishizawa – who is also part of Pritzker Prize winning office SANAA but has kept on working separately as well – lately completed a house which seems to merge pure formal reduction and a poetic shape in a more than impressive, rough landscape. The house on the shore of the Pacific Ocean in Chile – in fact part of a group of buildings – is dominated by a concrete roof that seems to echo the wind or the waves, ondulating above a mainly transparent space.
As the architects explain, the project as a whole "involves eight Japanese architects invited to design one house each, together with eight houses designed by Chilean architects. A residential development of sixteen houses is formed, to which this house belongs. The location of this house is at the tip of a small promontory into the Pacific. The configuration matches the shape of the promontory landscape, in a long narrow space with floors that rise and fall in accordance with the contours of the site, sheltered with a roof above. The roof descends to the ground in places and gently divides the space beneath into segments, which determine the form. There are no walls to speak of – it is like a building of ground and roof only in the midst of abundant nature. Toward the tip of the cape facing the magnificent views is the public zone including the dining room, while private spaces such as bedroom are placed away from the sea in calmness. In terms of structure, arches that connect diagonally-arranged landing points make it possible to create large spans while opening various directions toward the surrounding landscape." As a result, the house keeps an extraordinary balance between being strongly defined architecture and becoming part of the landscape, an intriguing case study house exploring the means of minimalism.