La Baita Lodge / Gubbins Arquitectos, Polidura + Talhouk Arquitectos


Architects: Gubbins Arquitectos, Polidura + Talhouk Arquitectos – Pedro Gubbins, Victor Gubbins, Antonio Polidura, Marco Polidura, Pablo Talhouk
Location: Parque Nacional Conguillio, IX Region,
Contractor: Hector Gutierrez
Site Area: 30 ha.
Constructed Area: 500 sqm
Project year: 2006
Construction year: 2006-2008
Photographs: Pedro Gubbins, Gonzalo Puga, Polidura + Talhouk Arq

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At the Chilean South, 700 kilometers from Santiago, and 110 kilometers of the city of Temuco, towards the Andes Mountains, the Conguillío National Park is found at the bottom of the Llaima volcano. In the heart of the park, is located “La Baita”, a small meeting place for guests of an ecotourism center of the same name.


Because of the site’s considerable distance to our office in Santiago and the rural nature of it, the first idea upon developing the assignment was to design a constructive system that was simple enough to be executed by local constructors and easy to be supervised from the distance.

With that in mind and the fact that 3.6 meters long raw Coihue wood planks were produced 20 kilometers away from the site, the design for the new façades of the existing lodge and all the new rooms were developed based on these planks dimensions. A 2”x10” section was defined for the project and a horizontal overlap of them established, to design a wall system that contains an insulation board in the center of it and is connected with only hex-head cap screws from the outside. The result of this system is a composed wall that functions as cladding, insulation and structure at the same time. The interior planks are supported on piles and the outside ones compress the insulation and brace the building.


The additional program, besides the six rooms with private bathroom and the restaurant extension, includes a sauna, a massage room and a multiuse room.

The restaurant’s new facade creates a gallery-type corridor that complements its activity. As all the rooms wanted to have a similar view to the nature, they were organized in relation to the site’s topography. The location of every window of the project was in response to the views and the constructive system.


The exterior gallery that links together all the guest rooms follows the site slope and opens towards a interior garden. The multiuse room was located under a new terrace and the existing site depression was outlined to create a natural amphitheater.

At the end of the design and construction process, and now that some time has passed after the project completion, the new wood planks exterior face have turned towards a bright grayish color, re-acting and merging with the landscape, the lava rocks and the vegetation of the site.

Cite: "La Baita Lodge / Gubbins Arquitectos, Polidura + Talhouk Arquitectos" 01 Sep 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 May 2015. <>
  • archilocus

    Ecotourism but not ecodesign!
    2cm wall insulation, it’s only 10x less than the standard in Switzerland. And looking at the snow on the pictures, I think the climate during winter is not so different…
    Anyway, the effect given by the thin walls is very nice. You almost feel outside when you’re in… Enjoy it people, soon that won’t be possible anymore…

    • utopianrobot

      what do you mean “enjoy it people, soon that won’t be possible anymore…”?

      • archilocus

        I mean with increasing concerns about eco and green buildings, regulations tend to require better insulation. Such a thin wall is already impossible in a good part of european countries, excepted for glass façades.

    • Pablo

      Se entiende que te extrañe los 2 cm de aislación. Pero funciona bien. El standard en Suiza claro que debe ser más exigente, ya que el clima también lo es en comparación a Conguillio. Además es mucho pedir equiparar los standards europeos a los chilenos, un poco de paciencia, Chile tiene otras cosas que regular antes en cuánto a habitabilidad. Me parece un tanto exagerado el “enjoy it people, soon that won`t be possible anymore”, muy cargado de soberbia y alejado del logro real de proyectos como estos.

      • archilocus

        You probably misunderstood my words, it is definitely not about “soberbia”, I didn’t criticize the project, which I find nice, nor chilean regulations.
        It was just sarcasm about the green regulations hysteria which limit our abilities in Switzerland (and not only !) to do such thin skins like this or like the ones you can find in some japanese architecture like Sanaa’s. So yes, enjoy your freedom, because I think you will have similar “problems” in Chile in 10-20 years…
        And sorry if I offended your pride, it was not my point ;)

    • Pablo

      Aceptadas las disculpas al orgullo, lo escrito suena más grave algunas veces. Pero en rigor no ofendiste, por lo mismo no hay problema. Y en estas localidades siempre se ha disfrutado la libertad pero con la responsabilidad que implica enfrentarse a estos terrirorios particulares, por temperaturas, por aguas, por programa, etcétera. Y en eso la obra aparece muy coherente a su lugar y eso se celebra.
      Todo bien.

  • Harry

    Looks like sheds.

  • Andrei P

    I’m concerned about the finishes. Those wooden support poles may very soon rot since they are in direct contact with the ground. As for the exterior skin, it doesn’t look very waterproof. Water may infiltrate up to the inner wall if the gaps in the insulation plates aren’t sealed.

  • Polidura + Talhouk

    In Chile there is no regulation for the insulation for this kind of buildings (only for houses).

    The most important thing about insulation is the complete envelope, the heat goes out by the roof. The cold and humidity is on the ground and in this case the wall insulation works ok. Don’t forget the thermal conductivity of the wood.

    The used wood is native so it has a very good oldness. any way is protected and the joints are sealed. In the outside face of the insulation there’s also a humidity barrier to avoid any posible leak.

    The piles are founded in concrete so ther’s no direct contact with the thick volcanic sand that infiltrate the water very fast.

    Hope this information is helpfull

    • archilocus

      Thanks to the architects of this nice project to drop in, we should have more often architcts answering comments about their projects.

      Concerning the insulation, you’re lucky not to have thermal regulations in Chile ;) Concerning the enveloppe, sure we need to consider the whole thing, and the conductivity of wood, but I seriously doubt this beats 18cm extra of pure EPS… But once again, this helps make the aspect of the thin façade better, so lack of regulations is sometimes great…

      About the wood oldness discussion, I agree with you. About humidity though, I’ve learned from experience it is kind of weak to have to rely on thin plastic film pieces taped together to protect a building, but that goes for every building with external skin.

      And sorry for this not-funny-at-all technical discussion, which take us far from the aesthetic qualities of the peoject !

  • Julio Ramirez Bruna

    beauriful project…

    • ernesto perez

      I agree, what a beauriful project

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  • João

    thanks for the architects comments… I agree with archilocus when he said we should have more architects commenting about their projects… it demonstrates their concerning about what is beeing posted and that they really care about what readers are saying… btw, the project is really strong and perfectly matches the landscape and the needs for the place… congrats!!!!

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