Chalet C7
Portillo, CHILE
Architects: Nicolás del Rio – Max Núñez
Collaborator: Heloise Gailing, Oltmann Ahlers
Location: Portillo, V Region, Chile
Finished: June 2008
Clients: Tim Purcell, Teresa Edenholm
Structural Engineer: Enzo Valladares
Building Contractor: Constructora El Pangue
Built Surface: 295 m²
Materials: Concrete, steel, stone
Photographs: Erieta Attali

The Chalet C7 is located in the middle of the Andes Mountains, at 2990 meters above sea level, not far from the Argentinean border and Mount Aconcagua. The site is situated on the south border of the Inca Lake, just in front of the Portillo Hotel.

The terrain is a steep rock slope facing the view of the lake and the Tres Hermanos Mountains. Over this strong and harsh landscape the house had to disappear from its view uphill without interfering the sight towards the lake.

The project was organized as two superposed volumes inserted in the topography. Below, a strong stone body shelters the private areas of the house. This stone enclosure and its controlled openings absorb the variations of the snow level during winter, anchoring the refuge to the slope and its rocky surroundings. Above this stone podium, a lighter steel and glass structure merges in one single space the common areas of the refuge; dinning table, living room, kitchen, terrace. This flexible space is fully open towards the views to the north.

Due to the extreme conditions of high altitude, which means an accumulation of snow of up to 6 meters during winter, the construction had to bear unusual weight loads. These structural needs where transferred inside the house and made visible by the steel beams and columns that characterize the main open space. By means of this expressive structure gravity is made tactile.