Chile-based architectural studio GITC designed Casa El Maqui in the coastal nature reservation of El Macs Brook near Santiago. The home accommodates six people in lush, sustainable digs, and it's carefully designed to integrate with, and eventually restore the local flora and fauna. Casa El Maqui utilizes natural ventilation and flooded gardens to provide evaporative cooling, making the interior comfortable during the sweltering summers.
The client asked for a house with a garden for a family of six to gather on weekends and holidays. At the same time, the client didn’t want to interfere with the natural beauty of the area. “In order not to interfere with the rich forests and ecosystems, we sought an already damaged hillside without vegetation and constructed the building there,” the architects said. “The new landscaping project should recover the area.” To that end, the layout was designed around the topography of the site, which had already been damaged and lacked vegetation.
The house project was carefully planned so that it will eventually be used to help restore the nearby environment with landscaping to restore the natural flora. To construct the home, the architects utilized steel frames, reinforced concrete and wood. Outside, a swimming pool and a bio-filter flooded garden were created to enhance the space and to provide cooling as breezes move across the water. The bedrooms were oriented towards the stunning mountain vistas in a suspended pavilion. The common areas face the landscaped courtyard. The interiors are bright and welcoming, with irregular walls and the warmth of wood and stone throughout. The home was positioned to take advantage of natural air currents to facilitate cooling.
Photos by Felipe Díaz Contardo