[Felipe Arce + Felipe Westermeier]

The commission consisted basically of a shelter for a university professor on the banks of the Calle-Calle river, in Valdivia, Región de Los Ríos. The site is located within the vicinity of the Universidad Austral de Chile, specifically in a west corner of the campus.

The limited size led us to a compact form and the harsh southern climate induced us to think of architecture more focused on itself, one that would try to generate exchanges with the outside. On the other hand, the requirement of not interrupting the view of other buildings suggested a layout perpendicular to the river, this requirement was linked to our initial question: What kind of relationship with the river do we want: a traditional one, which seeks that each program enclosure manages to please itself with this unique geographical element? Or rather, one that selects where and how this visual pleasure is obtained?

The selected one was the latter; the top of the short cabin’s path is the only visual leakage of the volume and where the most interesting space of the proposal is located.

The existence of an additional forced foot; that of creating a covered space to shelter some objects and nautical artifacts, led us to a key idea, that of elevating a sector of this elongated volume creating a space of greater height in the interior. In this way, the open plan of the cabin (chosen to provide a certain amplitude to the tight program) is reformulated by a key central element: the stands, a component that, although it limits the traditional free floor, is linked to it by its great flexibility and its wide range of possibilities. Thus, these different levels become both the living room and the seating for the dining table, in addition to functioning as a transitional space.

The culmination and final point, where the visual escape of the volume appears, is achieved through a large curtain wall, this is where the desk and bed are located. This space faces directly to the river in a singular way: its elevated condition shortens the range between the river and the cabin, making the distance to the river visually disappear, as well as generating a different visual horizon and a particular perception for the user. Text description by the architect.

Source: Special thanks to Felipe Arce + Felipe Westermeier for sending us the project
Photography by: Nicolas Saieh