With Chile’s capital, Santiago, a two-hour drive away, and the vibrant seaport city of Valparaiso just down the coast, the onetime shipping village of Zapallar has become a chic resort destination. Located in the central part of the country’s 4,000 miles of coastline, its white sand beaches and wooded hills provide much of the region’s allure. But the rocky bluffs above the Pacific Ocean appealed most to architect Cristian Undurraga, principal of the Santiago-based firm Undurraga Deves. Inspired by the strength and persistence of the crashing waves, as well as the wide view afforded from the architect’s chosen 1.5-acre site, some 82 feet above sea level, Undurraga designed two narrow “Horizon Houses” with panoramic views of the water and sky.
The two houses, one with seven bedrooms and the other, shorter one with four, total 9,950 square feet. Details differ in the two, but they do share passive ventilation and radiant floor heating. And they both feature unadulterated views to the south, showing the sea and the town of Zapallar three miles away. On a clear day you can see Valparaiso. To the north, mobile lattices shield the houses’ interiors from bright sun, or reveal views of the protected courtyard space.
For Undurraga, the house is the perfect escape from the office. “During a Christmas lunch, two whales came from the inner sea toward our house,” he says.
“They swam close to the shore and suddenly jumped in an incredible way, right in front of us. Nature welcomed.”
Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Collaborator: Undurraga Deves Studio, Cristián Larraín Bontá.