The Chalet C7 is located in the middle of the Andes Mountains, at 2990 meters above sea level, not far from the Argentinean border and Mount Aconcagua. The site is situated on the south border of the Inca Lake, just in front of the Portillo Hotel.
The terrain is a steep rock slope facing the view of the lake and the Tres Hermanos Mountains. Over this strong and harsh landscape the house had to disappear from its view uphill without interfering the sight towards the lake.
The project was organized as two superposed volumes inserted in the topography. Below, a strong stone body shelters the private areas of the house. This stone enclosure and its controlled openings absorb the variations of the snow level during winter, anchoring the refuge to the slope and its rocky surroundings. Above this stone podium, a lighter steel and glass structure merges in one single space the common areas of the refuge; dinning table, living room, kitchen, terrace. This flexible space is fully open towards the views to the north.
Due to the extreme conditions of high altitude, which means an accumulation of snow of up to 6 meters during winter, the construction had to bear unusual weight loads. These structural needs where transferred inside the house and made visible by the steel beams and columns that characterize the main open space. By means of this expressive structure gravity is made tactile.
Max Núñez (1976) studied architecture at the Universidad Católica de Chile achieving his degree and a Master in Architecture in 2004. He did pre graduate studies at the Politecnico di Milano, Italy, during 1998-99. In 2010 he achieved a Master in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University, New York, where he received the Lowenfish Memorial Prize, and the William Ware Prize for Excellence in Design. He is currently a Studio Professor at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. His work has been published in different magazines and books, and has been included at architecture biennals in Chile and abroad. He has been invited to show his work at universities in Chile, USA, Argentina, Ecuador and Spain.