Restoration of the local environment meets an impressive looking dwelling – this in a nutshell defines the scope of Casa El Maqui, an expansive house designed by Chile-based architectural studio GITC in the vicinity of Santiago. Specifically located inside the coastal nature reservation of El Macs Brook, the aim of the architects was not only limited to the creation of the living space. Rather their collective approach also encompassed the conservation of the natural surroundings, thus resulting in a ‘symbiotic’ environment where humans are advantaged by the thriving eco-system of the proximate nature.
To that end, the very site of the Casa El Maqui was chosen to have a lesser initial impact on the local environment. As the architects said –
In order not to interfere with the rich forests and ecosystems, we sought an already damaged hillside without vegetation and constructed the building there. The new landscaping project should recover the area.
Simply put, the layout of the plan was envisioned in such a manner so as to work around an already damaged area. And even beyond the low impact, the architects have looked forth to rather enrich the environment over time with numerous design considerations. One of these passive architectural techniques entailed the use of landscaping that would renovate the area with greenery, albeit in a controlled manner. This is complemented by the integration of a bio-filtered flooded garden and a water body that doubles as a swimming pool.
The best part is how all of these incorporated ‘natural’ features of Casa El Maqui play their dual role in catering the human users. For example, when outdoor air flows over the flooded gardens, the scenario is translated into a cool and wholesome breeze that naturally ventilates the house. The orientation of the house is also tailored to user satisfaction, with upper floored bedrooms extending towards the mountain vistas, and lower level common areas opening into the proximate landscaped zones. And lastly, all of these factors are complemented by the structural side of affairs, with the dwelling boasting steel frames, reinforced concrete and timber components for an expansive and safe living scope.