La Reserva by Sebastián Irarrázaval
This stunning prefab in Colina, Chile, is the work of Santiago-based architect Sebastián Irarrázaval. Despite its unique form, it is not meant as a custom design but rather a housing solution that can take shape repeatedly. Constructed of concrete, steel and timber, the 120 square meter structure (1290 sq ft) lives large with a simple geometric that is at ease with the surrounding landscape.
While the sustainability of steel and concrete are debatable, Irarrázaval takes advantage of the inherent benefits of these materials, mainly their thermal attributes. The exterior steel panels create a double facade where sandwiched air is heated and creates a natural draw of ventilation around the structure. The concrete elements work to regulate temperature by moderating swings between heating and cooling. As a complete system, and coupled with expansive adjustable openings, the building self regulates for the thermal comfort of occupants.
Completed in 2006, the La Reserva house is, according to the architect, low-cost housing that “relates to the idea of the container.” Its striking steel facade is meant to weather “as a continuation of the building process rather than as a force antagonistic to it” making the material choice a dynamic part of the design.
Although our critical side questions the materials, we can’t help but be drawn to this design from one of the world’s most exciting new architecture practices.