Rock on Rock

architect Cecilia Puga
project family house, Bahía Azul, Los Vilos, Chile
written by Alejandro Crispiani Enriquez

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Chile is a country of dramatic geography, evident not only on a large scale, but in details as well. It is not unusual that a small location reflects the brutality of conflict with the forces of nature, brutality that often creates forms that seem as though they were surprised, left unfinished.


The house of Cecilia Puga in Bahía Azul (Blue Bay) is on one such location, on a rocky formation above the sea. You can still see the millennial erosion of the rocks into the sea on the coast. The house calmly rises above that geological drama. It responds with a similarity materiality, but is ruled by a principle of a delicate and precise order, completely foreign to that landscape, although on the other hand it reproduces its mineral origin. It is about repetition of the same basic concrete element in different positions: the elongated prism with an upper triangular part creates a typical profile of a house with a gabled roof. Two such elements are placed on the terrain, parallel but shifted, with a minimum distance. Each of them contains bedrooms and living areas. The shifted position creates space for a patio/access garden and the outside terrace. Above is the third element of the same shape and material, but turned upside down (it holds the master bedroom). The entire upper part leans on inclined surfaces, and this all results in a particular organism in which the walls, floors and roof covering exchange their positions based on the organized, but complex and evident game whose logic remains unnoticed. It seems that the procedure is not whimsical or subject to outside image only. As one of its advantages, it is possible to create external covered spaces that are at the same time open towards the local environment. On the terrace, the roof rises over the heads of residents as if it recognizes the horizon. This also happens in the interior where there are no obstacles to looking outside, stressing the idea of the viewpoint.


In the end, the house in Blue Bay corresponds to the basic building principle which is not difficult to spot in the play with building blocks of children or adults – to create a balanced heap, look for adjustments that will enable the successful and permanent erection of one part over the other. In this case, the result can at some point assume a mildly surrealistic note, as is evident from some views from the beach that seem to play with the idea of an upside down house, a structure placed upside down, stressing the special feature of the calm artefact, that is the basis of its relationship with harsh natural surroundings.