Text description provided by the architects. The commission comes from two families who are friends and neighbors and who decide to build identical houses on a site near Ranco Lake. The houses needed to house up to 12 people on periods of vacations and weekends, all year round. Lastly, the project had to privilege family life with a permanent interaction between its dwellers. Both sites have similar conditions regarding topography and distance to the access road but differed in the surrounding conditions. While one site was clear of trees, the other was immersed in a native forest. For this reason, the projects are not subject to specific views.
Given the use requirements and site conditions, the houses are laid out as an isolated volume, with a square plan and centripetal distribution, with fire as the unifying element and center of the project. Each 18m x 18m square plan is divided into 9 squares. The middle squares form a cross, which is used as one open, continuous, flexible and shared space. At the center is the chimney, hanging from a double height with lateral skylights. This way the stone and steel artifact is transformed into the main element of the house and a space in itself, which is shared by the different activities of common living (eating, cooking, living, playing and circulating).
On the other hand, the corner squares have lower ceilings and serve as more private spaces for bedrooms, bathrooms and facility areas. The position of the square plan is determined by cardinal direction, setting the open space cross as a wind rose. This way sun enters the open space and transforms it during the pass of the day.
Lastly, the cross space opens visually and physically to four roofed terraces in each of its ends. This way the exterior is incorporated into the common space as well. Both houses are identical in distribution but vary in its finishes according to the personal requirements of each family.