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ARQ (Santiago)

versión On-line ISSN 0717-6996

ARQ (Santiago)  no.94 Santiago dic. 2016 

Works & projects

House in Morrillos. Morrillos, Chile.

Cristián Izquierdo 1   *  

1Profesor, Escuela de Arquitectura, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile.


This project offers its dwellers (one to three couples simultaneously) an unusual dilemma in a beach house: in order to enjoy the view, it becomes necessary to be isolated from the house, and in order to enjoy the house, it becomes necessary to be isolated from the view. Thus, the decoupling of view and pleasure alters the imaginary of a retreat while offering a new approach to the relationship between the object and its surroundings

Keywords: vacation house; motel; cabin; doors; wood

This project is by a long, open beach, on a desert dune rising in front of a wetland. It is a seasonal house to accommodate up to three couples, and can be leased or bartered the rest of the year. Its intermittent occupation and location led us to think of it as an overlapping of two models: the motel and the cabin. The motel suggests self-sufficient rooms served from outside by a second access, while the cabin presumes a centralized space that brings the community together. A set of four rooms come together in a shared central kitchen, forming a larger compact structure enclosed by mobile panels opening different possibilities of use according to their position.

(c) Luis Izquierdo

Figure 2 Roof plan. Published scale 1: 200 

Figure 3 Façade. Published scale 1: 200 

Figure 4 AA section. Published scale 1: 200 

Figure 5 BB section. Published scale 1: 200 

Figure 6 CC section. Published scale 1: 200 

Each room is connected to an equivalent-sized courtyard. Both spaces open to the outside, are covered by a beamed ceiling and separated from its adjacent unit by a wall. These four rectangular structures are set next to one another and rotated 90° from their neighbor, assembling a cross-shaped plan sitting on a square base with four courtyards in its corners. The tip of the cross facing the horizon contains the living room, connected to the central kitchen and the dining room in a singular continuous space. In the other end, facing the wetland, there is a guest room. On both sides, two bedroom-bathroom-courtyard units face the peninsulas in both ends of the beach.

The construction is entirely conceived in pine wood without knots. The joints are solved with glued junctions without metal joints exposed to the sea oxide. The beamed ceiling is developed in 4 separate rectangular structures, settled over the walls and a perimeter porch avoiding diagonal main beams. Their rotated position on the base produces a square skylight over the central kitchen. The outer columns sequence is displaced half a module with respect to this skylight. Thus, the span between columns that defines the focus of the exterior view is perceived diagonally from the center of the kitchen, emphasizing a perception of the outside as a moving panorama.

Figure 7 Floor plan, closed doors. Published scale 1: 200 

Figure 8 Floor plan, open doors. Published scale 1: 200 

(c) Luis Izquierdo

Behind these pillars, distanced by a corridor, 72 wooden doors delimit the project. Opening them to the landscape involves closing them to the neighboring unit. When opened outward, each room-courtyard is a private space connected to the outside by a row of portals framing the horizon. When closed, instead, they become an intimate space, protected from the wind and views, opened to its neighbors through a perimeter porch. An open door allows for a possibility and closes another. A closed door rules out a possible use to open a new one. Some doors ought to be closed to find what is outside.

Figure 10 Doors horizontal section detail. Published scale 1: 100. 

Figure 11 Corridor doors façade. Published scale 1: 50 

Figure 12 Corridor doors vertical section. Published scale 1: 100. 

Figure 13 Corridor doors plan detail. Published scale 1: 50. 

(c) Luis Izquierdo


Cristián Izquierdo L. - Izquierdo Lehmann Arquitectos


Alexandre Akbaraly, Miguel Villegas


Duna de Morrillos, IV Región de Coquimbo, Chile



Structural engineering

Cristián Izquierdo - Osvaldo Peñaloza

Building contractor

Danilo Saldibar

Built area

208 m2

Project year


Construction year

2015 - 2016


Luis Izquierdo

* Cristián Izquierdo Architect, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 2009. MSc Advanced Architectural Design, Columbia University, 2014. He received the Honor Award for Excellence in Design and the Lucille Smyser Lowenfish Memorial Prize. Since 2010 he works independently in public and private projects of different scale. In 2012 he joined as partner in Izquierdo Lehmann architects. His projects have been published and exhibited in Chile and abroad, including the MoMA in New York (Young Architect Program, 2015) and the exhibition "Extra-Ordinary" AT CFA New York (2016). In 2015, his Futrono House project was awarded in the XIX Bienal de Arquitectura de Chile. He currently serves as theory and design professor at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

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