The use of wood in the construction of Chilean houses demonstrates the possibilities offered by renewable resources available in the country. The benefits are multiple: wood can be an extremely sustainable material when produced and processed under certain conditions since it can have a very low carbon footprint. Meanwhile, as a construction system, it is characterized by its warmth, resistance, and durability.
Listed below is a chronologically ordered selection of Chilean housing projects that covers the evolution of the use of wood both structurally and aesthetically. These projects succeed in merging with the environment and have a harmonious relationship with the varied geography of the country.
Location: Puerto Varas
"Among the important initial requirements was to use sustainable native woods. The general structure; beams and exposed columns as well as floors, ceilings, doors and frames are made of Laurel demolition wood (rescued from the demolition of former villas that are abandoned over time due to the decline in family size and high maintenance costs)."
"The construction logic of the wood, through columns that are close among themselves, with short beams, and short cladding between the columns, allows for the correct performance of the material, avoiding deformations."
"The construction is proposed to reuse as much waste materials as possible from the salmon industry (in which the client works), and domestic recycling. We decided to work primarily with pallets, steel, and polystyrene. Thus, to form the two planes of the house, we conceive a substructure made from galvanized steel tubular profiles 150mm in diameter and 5mm thick, connected by beams also made from galvanized steel sections of 150 x 50 x 4mm. This platform is adapted with special pieces to support the wooden structure that constitutes the house. The structure is dimensioned according to the wood that could be recovered, but can be adapted to all conditions: it is basically a column and beam structure."
"The main structure is 2x4” pine lumber in addition to some steel reinforcements made out of standard tubes that help to prevent wood deformations. We designed a 4-meter wide bay, which allowed us to roof the whole structure using just commercial standard 2x8” pine lumber joists."
"According to the proposed conditions, we arranged a mono-material construction system, simple and with limited variations. Beginning from the reference of the wooden sheds of a regular frame, typical of this area, a structure is designed composed of 4 frames, which are ordered and alternated according to the relationship that each space must establish with the site. This simplifies the assembly of the structure, defined by a series of diagrams. During construction, all of these steps are accompanied by numerous hand drawings made directly on-site, which help to further simplify the construction process with the workers.
Location: Puerto Varas
"Since the south of Chile has a strong concentration of forests and wood is a very present and traditional building material in the area, it is used as an important material in lining, structure and furniture. All these elements consider a contemporary language in its design and rescues the traditional carpentry of the area. The native woods used are Oak, Ulmo, Mañio and Laurel."
"The cladding is made out of non-treated Oregon Pine, so that the material could be able to show the passage of time and the climate of the region, thanks to the expressive colors and textures that wood can show through time."
"The entire construction is made out of local timber. The structure is defined by the polar array of forty-five rigid frames. While walls and ceilings are clad with boards, a traditional thin wooden shingle covers the roof. As the island is not only well known for the exuberant myths and legends but for a refined artisanal carpentry knowledge expressed both in churches and boats, we sought to evoke the delicate artlessness of a totally forgotten wooden padlock"
Location: Playa Blanca
"The construction is entirely conceived in pinewood with glued joints managed without metal pieces exposed to the sea oxide. The beamed ceiling is developed in four separate rectangular structures, settled over the walls and a perimeter porch avoiding diagonal main beams."
"The wooden structure is proposed as an important part of the house’s overall expression. It is mounted over a structural plinth composed of five axes built of large, master sectional 6x6 inch beams. This structure is illustrated below in the sections on pillars and internal structure of the house."
"The structure is conceived as a scaffolding system, defined in laminated wood of 10x40cm, detached from the volumetric body, composed by the assembled crossing of four beams of 10,5m long and four double pillars of 6.0m in height, placed punctually on a stone perimeter containment as a shoe that protects and establishes the lower level of the house."
Location: Lago Rupanco
"The structure is wooden, standing 2x4 rights, and 2x8 beams. Punctual steel beams were used to solve the larger light."