Elton + Leniz, a diverse architecture firm based in Chile, conceptualised a stunning tiered house merging wood and cement qualities that were further developed to present their clients with a spacious home overlooking the bay.
Created for a large family comprising a mother and father in their early 40’s and their 7 children aged between 2 to 14 years, this house on a hill in Chile’s El Pangue region was designed to meet simple demands: “a relaxed, sustainable beach house with almost every space in relation with the wonderful ocean view available.”
With a panoramic Pacific view that can be enjoyed from terraces placed at different tiered levels, this hillside house conceived by architects Mirene Elton and Mauricio Leniz, (officially known as Elton+Leniz) was worked in a way that the volumes of the building face outwards: from the site to the sea.
Uniting design forces, this team used challenging topographic conditions – that of a very steep site – to pitch the use of rooftops as terraces, a strategy that worked to deliver the clients a dramatic, movie-like view of the Pacific Ocean.
Situated in the 5th region near Zapallar called El Pangue, the house boasting a covered area of about 450 sq.mt. and set on a site measuring about 2000 sq.mt. was built at a cost of U$ 1.600 per sq.mt. shares Mauricio Leniz.
Material language for its exteriors are structural concrete and alerce, wood while interiors are done up in concrete and painted white for a clean finish.
Since the site area was steep, the designers decided to make the upper floor a very light structure. After equipping the concrete lower floors with timber cladding that surrounds the top volume, the upper floors would appear very different.
Though the chief raw materials used were concrete and brick, the special wood the designers opted for is noteworthy as well. They used alerce wood type because of its quality of transforming to a grey colour, similar to the concrete, with the passage of time.
Additionally, the central vertical circulation feature that the house is based on, connects all four levels (and its 3 terraces) to each other, taking advantage of the height offered by the natural slope of the site.
Spread out over four tiered levels, each connected by staircases following the steep slope, the journey into Casa El Pangue begins from the car park, storage and open shower units situated at the lowest level.
It moves to the first flight of stairs that rise from under a balcony leading to the second level housing the kitchen, play room and dining room before continuing to the main living spaces above and ends at the access to the outdoor spaces in the west and north orientations of the building.
A double-height hallway incorporated on the third level offering a sea-view lies at the end of more steps. This is also the principle back entrance to the property and the location of the largest terrace.
In a bid to allow an uninterrupted view of the Pacific waters, it is fringed by planters as opposed to traditional railings.
The top floor has been reserved for the bedrooms and a family room, but houses a balcony facing the hill (at the rear end of the fourth floor).
Sustaining concrete walls make up the constructive system of the house on three levels, while wood-siding terraces the fourth level, since this was intended to be a lightweight structure.
Keeping in context with the site, thearchitects made every conceivable effortto maintain the rustic appeal of Casa El Pangue. So even though they created acontemporary geometric design for their clients by combining contrasting elementslike concrete and wood on the exterior to juxtapose features, they managed to showcase their innovative architectural planning and also highlight the natural beauty of a forested hillside.
Compatibility with natural materials like wood and stones used generously in the design scheme of the house is another important feature that speaks of the architects’ regard for the natural environment. These help the house to blend into its surroundings, despite its concrete base and extensive use of large picture glass windows.
Use of ceramic tiles and bricks as secondary but significant design materials further helped the architects to refine their final composition and present their clients with a home that follows a simple layout. Also, an effective usage plan of straight lines and minimal furnishings that is easy to maintain makes this an abode for joyful living.
Text By Deepanjolie Sonya Figg
Photographs Natalia Vial