Interviewed in Ljubljana 10th April 2009
Perhaps the most famous representative in Europe of ‘new’ Chilean architecture, Mathias Klotz, is primarily highly reputed for family houses of unique quality which are, furthermore, situated on extraordinary locations on the Chilean Pacific coast or again, along the River Plate delta. Referring to the tradition of European Modernism, primarily to Californian houses by Richard Neutra or villas by Marcel Breuer, Klotz creates ambiences for pleasant and dignified living. Nevertheless, no matter if these are villas for rich people or school buildings Klotz applies the same principles – the best possible way of blending with the surroundings and creation of conditions for the user’s benefit.
ORIS: At the beginning I would like to recall some images. Kegevich House, a man standing on a cantilever without railing, without protection, on the edge of the world, looking at the ocean. The other image is your famous Reutter House, a young lady standing on the terrace like a ship’s deck, also looking at the endless ocean. Is the aim of your work to make possible just exceptional experiences for people?
Klotz: There is a mistake because this is not a terrace. It’s a surface to be able to clean that window. All of the rest of the terraces have protection. The picture is like that because the photographer wanted to have this shocking image. All these houses with these terraces reminding one of a ship’s deck are like that because of the landscape. You have to imagine that we have 5000 kilometres facing the ocean and that you almost always have a hill immediately behind the ocean. When I am allowed to choose the site for the client or recommend a site, I choose sites that are lower than the road so you have no houses in front of yours. And that’s why you come on top of the houses, because of the topography. This is a condition that is repeated many times in my work because it is kind of our local condition.