Caterpillar House: Casa Oruga, Chile

Caterpillar House, Casa Oruga Los Trapenses, Lo Barnechea Residence, Santiago de Chile Home

Casa Oruga / Caterpillar House

Santiago de Chile Residential Property – design by Sebastián Irarrázaval

page updated 21 Aug 2016 ; 23 Sep 2013

Caterpillar House

Design: Sebastián Irarrázaval Delpiano ; Associated Architect: Erick Caro

English text (scroll down for Portuguese):

Location: Los Trapenses, Lo Barnechea, Santiago de Chile, Chile

Casa Oruga / Caterpillar House

This prefabricated house for an art collector and his family was built in the outskirts of Santiago in a new suburban residential area. In order to reduce construction time and costs, second hand shipping containers were used as follow: Five 40“ standard containers, Six 20“ standard containers and one 40“ open top container for the swimming pool. The result is a bold articulation of form with a tough feeling throughout.

Casa Oruga Caterpillar House Chile
photo : Sergio Pirrone

Putting aside the fulfillment of the brief; the main purposes of the house were two: The first one was to integrate it to the territory of this part of the city where the presence of the Andes Mountain is extremely strong both visually and tectonically. Therefore the presence of the Andes was considered as an obvious background worst to be highlighted and also as a sloped ground needed to be negotiated.

Casa Oruga Chile
photo : Sergio Pirrone

The second one was to allow the external air to run smoothly and easily through the all house and its different parts In order to avoid mechanical cooling.

Casa Oruga Caterpillar House Chile
photo : Sergio Pirrone

With regard to the former, the strategy to achieve the proposed integration to the territory, consisted in placing the volumes of the house as if they where resting on the slope and allowing the volumes, lets say; to be blended by the slope. As a result of this tide adjustment of the house to the natural ground; there are generated the entrance to the house and the children sleeping rooms having each one an inclined inner space which is both the skylight and the bed place in the room.

Caterpillar House Chile
photo : Sergio Pirrone

In relation to the latter; the strategy for improving air movement through the house consisted in organizing the program along stripes and keeping interstitial spaces among them for the circulation of both; the inhabitants and the cool air that comes from the mountains. At the same time, the proposed interstitial spaces increases the house perimeter which allows most of the times to have light and air entering the spaces from at least two opposite sides. As a consequence of this will, windows and doors are aligned along axes that cut the stripes, easing therefore air movement and also creating visual integration.

Casa Oruga Caterpillar House Chile
photo : Sergio Pirrone

Construction phases consisted in: firstly; placing the retaining walls to create a horizontal plane to place the public areas of the house. Secondly; in mounting the containers and ensemble them on top to place the private areas and thirdly; to wrap the containers with a unitarian material which at the time that integrates the parts also creates a ventilated façade that temperate the interior spaces.

Casa Oruga Caterpillar House Chile
photo : Sergio Pirrone

The material palette was chosen having in mind not only low cost materials but low maintenance as well. In the election of materials it was also important to analyze their capacity to age well an to incorporate time passing as something that adds value to material.

Architectonic elements such as windows, doors, and skylights are rationalized and repeated all over the house not just to reduce cost but also in order to create and integrated architectonic peace.

Casa Oruga Caterpillar House Chile Casa Oruga Caterpillar House Chile Casa Oruga Caterpillar House Chile Casa Oruga Caterpillar House Chile Casa Oruga Caterpillar House Chile
photos : Sergio Pirrone

Caterpillar House Chile – Building Information

Name of the project : Casa Oruga / Caterpillar House
Architect: Sebastián Irarrázaval Delpiano
Associated Architect: Erick Caro
Client: Ricardo Bezanilla
Location: Los Trapenses, Lo Barnechea, Santiago de Chile
Structural Engineer: Pedro Bartolomé
Construction: Sebastián Irarrázaval Arquitectos
Site Supervision: Ricardo Carril
Materials: 5 X 40 “standard shiping containers, 6 X 20 “standard shiping containers and 1 X 40“ open top shipping container, steel plates, concrete retaining walls, and gypsum board, tymber wood
Site area: 900 m2
Gross Built area: 350 m2
Year of completion: 2012
Photos: Sergio Pirrone

Portuguese text:

Casa Oruga

MEMORIA

El proyecto consiste en una vivienda prefabricada construida en base a la reutilización de 5 contenedores marítimos de 40 pies standard, 6 contenedores maritimos de 20 pies standard y de 1 de 40 pies de caracteristicas open top, para la piscina.

Casa Oruga Caterpillar House Chile
photo : Sergio Pirrone

Con el objeto de integrar el proyecto al territorio caracteristico del pie de cerro de la cordillera de los Andes, la vivienda se construye en base a franjas orientadas hacia el paisaje del valle, las que se deforman a medida que se encuentran con la pendiente del terreno en su espalda. Como resultado de este acomodo de las piezas en el terreno, se generan el acceso a la casa y las lucarnas que coronan los dormiitorios.

Casa Oruga Caterpillar House Chile Casa Oruga Caterpillar House Chile Casa Oruga Caterpillar House Chile Casa Oruga Caterpillar House Chile Casa Oruga Caterpillar House Chile
photos : Sergio Pirrone

La organización en base a frajas por la que se opta, permite crear instersticios que cumplen tres objetivos; organizar las circulaciónes, promover la ventilación cruzada y generar estrechos encuadres hacia las vistas exteriores.

Las etapas de construcción consistieron : primero; en generar los muros de contención para posibilitar una superficie horizontal en la base del terreno para hospedar las zonas publicas de la vivienda ; segundo; en montar y ensamblar los contenedores por sobre esta base para albergar los dormitorios en ellos y por ultimo; envolver los contenedores con un manto monomaterial que junto con integrar las partes, genera un piel ventilada que templa el interior.

Casa Oruga Caterpillar House Chile Casa Oruga Caterpillar House Chile Casa Oruga Caterpillar House Chile Casa Oruga Caterpillar House Chile Casa Oruga Caterpillar House Chile
photos : Sergio Pirrone

Casa Oruga Santiago de Chile – Ficha Técnica

Nombre de la Obra: Casa Oruga/Caterpillar House
Arquitecto: Sebastián Irarrázaval Delpiano
Arquitecto Asociado: Erick Caro
Construcción: Sebastián Irarrázaval Arquitectos
Cliente: Ricardo Bezanilla
Materialidad: 12 Contenedores marítimos de acero corten, revestimientos exteriores de plancha de acero, muros de contención de hormigon armado
Superficie terreno: 900 m2
Superficie construida: 350 m2
Año proyecto: 2011
Fin construcción: 2012
Fotografo: Sergio Pirrone

Casa Oruga / Caterpillar House images / information from Fernanda Vuilleumier Studio

Sebastián Irarrázaval


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Caterpillar House Building – page

Website: Chile