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Chile: Modern homes built with indigenous design

Chile: Modern homes built with indigenous design

Posted by Juan Gavasa on July 22, 2014

The 25 homes allow the Mapuche to "take part in modern society without abandoning their identity," architects from the Undurraga Deves agency tell Argentinian newspaper Clarin. The two-storey houses are located in within a conventional social housing development but were requested by the Mapuche themselves.

The design is based on the Mapuche "ruka" - a dwelling made from tree trunks and branches. The whole row of houses faces east, so the front doors can greet the rising sun, and they have shady interiors in order to emphasise the contrast between private spaces inside and a large, outdoor communal area.

But there are modern touches. Diagonal beams across the facades are there to hold the side walls together in the event of an earthquake, since central Chile is home to the major San Ramon Fault. Tailoring design to community needs is something Undurraga Deves is getting good at - the agency has been nominated for the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize for another Andean project.

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