Casa Lavados in Villarrica, Chile by Mathias Klotz, 1995
in 1965 in Santiago, Chile, Mathias Klotz has built extensively in
his native country, mainly in single family residences. His work
illustrates a strong combination of modernity and vernacular
tendencies. A balance is created through the use of local materials
and construction techniques with a modernist approach to planning
and looking at space. Casa Lavados is a good example of these design
sensibilities, though indicative of the unique approached required
when designing a house for a family.
in 1995 and sited on the slopes of the Villarrica Volcano, the
Lavados house's main occupant who wanted a place to live after
retirement where he could welcome his children and grandchildren
without disturbing his independence. This requirement is achieved
through a vertical distribution of spaces, separating the guests
from the inhabitants. The design achieves this division naturally,
by building against the slope. The house opens itself to the north,
with an exterior walkway and pool, and is supported by a stone wall
on the south. The main circulation is adjacent to the stone wall
(beautifully lit from above by skylights) with a stair puncturing
the wall, stressing the change in domains. Materials are stone,
wood, and glass throughout the house, typical of the location.
plan draws comparisons to Charles and Ray Eames' own house of 1949.
Both are linear compositions built against a slope with the main
circulation following the orientation of the house, though in the
case of the Eames' house the circulation is adjacent to the open
side of the house. Each house also uses the linear composition of
the plan to create exterior spaces; the Eames by splitting the house
into two structures, Klotz by creating a deck at the tip of the
house, adjacent to the pool. Here the difference is apparent in the
architect's approach to site, the former turning inside and the
latter a continuation of the north side, extending to the horizon.
Another difference is the Eames' exploitation of technology, an
assemblage of off-the-shelf steel and glass, versus Klotz's
integration of local techniques (stone and wood construction) with
modern materials (curtain wall construction creating the light north
similarities and differences between Casa Lavados and the Eames
House (arguably one of the greatest houses of this century)
illustrate the balance that Mathias Klotz is able to achieve in his
design. Approaching the spatial solution in a modernist manner, the
house has a fresh and inventive quality that is reinforced by
vernacular materials and techniques used in a new form.