Santiago-based architects Alfredo Thiermann and Sebastián Cruz of architecture office Thiermann Cruz Arquitectos have completed a home that celebrates Chile’s once-popular courtyard housing typology — a residential style that has faded away in popularity since the second half of the 19th century. Rooted in a tradition of embracing outdoor space, the residence — simply dubbed Casa I — is also decidedly modern in design and construction and makes use of prefabricated elements such as cross-laminated timber and precast concrete panels.
Spanning an area of 300 square meters, Casa I is located in a former suburb of Santiago on a lot that has been subdivided into three smaller pieces due to the pressures of urban densification. To make the most of its 20-by-40-meter site, the residence was conceived as a long and rectangular volume that, unlike its more conventionally designed neighbors, is flanked by usable outdoor space on all sides.
Sliding and pivoting glazed doors blur the line between the indoors and outdoors and create a seamless connection to the courtyards to make the home feel much larger than its footprint suggests. The open-plan living room, dining area and kitchen also features sliding doors for a flexible layout. In contrast to its exposed concrete base and prefabricated black concrete paneling, the interior of the light-filled home feels warm and inviting thanks to the use of timber throughout.
“Each interior space is connected, at least, with two exteriors, which are treated simultaneously as interiors though their large built furniture and materiality,” the architects explained. “Negotiating the irregular shape of the plot with the regular geometry of the house, its limit is set back a few meters behind the property line, and a walled courtyard elbows out from the continuous line defining the sidewalk. Overcoming the regulations promoting a garden city, the facade becomes a walled courtyard, bringing life to the edge of the otherwise lifeless suburban street.”
Photography by Erieta Attali and William Rojas via Thiermann Cruz Arquitectos