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The Japanese architect has designed a splendid weekend house on the Chilean coast. An ideal refuge for lovers of nature and architecture.

Anchored facing the Pacific Ocean, Ryue Nishizawa’s House in Los Vilos echoes the raw, overwhelming beauty of the surrounding landscape. Positioned at the tip of a promontory, the house fits into a long, narrow space. With no walls to speak of, resting on the ground and topped by a ribbon-like roof, the building constantly confronts its visitors with nature, and more particularly with the waves breaking on the coast. Waves that we are tempted to recognise in the silhouette of the building, which combines concrete and glass to create an architecture that is both gentle and powerful.

Designed as a weekend home, House in Los Vilos is an invitation to relax and contemplate. The roof divides the house into three areas: the sauna at the front, a bedroom and living room in the middle, and a kitchen and dining room that extend to a terrace at the back. A wood-clad spa also offers stunning ocean views. On the other side of the building is a wing organised around a bedroom, which also opens onto the waves.

As well as its aesthetic appeal, the structure of the building is also noteworthy. The roof arches are arranged diagonally, creating long spans and spectacular views over the surrounding landscape. This diversity of openings would not have been possible with traditional arch structures such as the vaulted roof.

Winner of a Pritzker Prize in 2010, Japanese architect Ryue Nishizawa, who also heads the SANAA practice with architect Kazuyo Sejima, is part of the Ocho Quebradas project, which involves eight other Japanese architects, each invited to design a house, as well as eight houses designed by Chilean architects. The architects in question include Kengo Kuma, Sou Fujimoto and Felipe Assadi. 

Chili – Los Vilos 

Lisa Agostini