Located in Maule, a place of deep natural beauty, and embedded with great nostalgia for a fruitful industrial era of the past. Very close to the site you can still see the ruins of the main coal deposits and some industrial elements from the Federico Schwager mine: The elevators of the mines are very strong elements with which one faces when arriving at Maule. These huge concrete structures of industrial archaeology, were the elevator towers, of a time of great social history of coal and the hard syndicalist struggle to conquer better living conditions. These elements: towers, sea, the chiffon of the devil, the sand, strong raw materials, and the remains of industrial buildings, are part of the “Archeology of the Context” with which we worked beyond the formal architectural context of the neighbouring houses. We took as reference certain heights, certain building lines of existing ones, to draw some relationships but we did not want to imitate the architectural typology nearby, because for us it symbolized the past, another time. On the contrary, we wanted to propose an architecture of TODAY for this particular place. We decided to separate the house from the others and respond to the nature of land whose genesis was different, with a conscious and critical at the past and looking with hope towards the future.

This sea and this beach remind us of the force of the waves, the sound they produce, fossils in the sand and the smell of salt and seaweed. It is not a “quiet summer beach” because it is loaded with a very different wild vitality, marked by strong winds and suns over the sea.

Specifically, the lot was a residual corner that at some point was even filled with various residues, a product of demolition of existing industrial buildings. Thus, a batch of non-compact soil is formed and filled with pieces of machinery, bricks and communal service facilities, pieces of concrete and pieces of iron from a bygone era. Industrial waste and a soil blackened by the black coal fossil. These characteristics were also important to think of a more vertical volume that would decrease contact with the ground.

The family is made up of 3 women, Marleen, a single mother of Belgian origin and their daughters Amalia and Violeta. The mother always dreamed and imagined a space that is projected on the horizon, expansive and without limits. A space that somehow allows you to move to the imaginary, “I like to be able to look at the horizon and feel that through the sea I am connected with my people, in some way this reassures me …” Marleen Marleen’s father was an architect and also a fan of painting. All his works are located in the house, among other pieces of art.

This vertically organized dwelling is structured in a single volume of bare concrete. The walls were treated like a sandwich, as an expanded polystyrene thermal barrier inside them. The views are organized on each side, to the south is the old Schwager mine and is the first image when you arrive at the house after having passed through the mining towers. It is the playful side of the work. The side that links the house with the undulations of the beach.

Towards the East, the house recovers the view towards the hills, something that is not present in the neighbouring houses. Thus the rear view overcomes the vision of a grey “tambourine” to scan the horizon proposed by the back hill. On the south side, a small forest of cherry trees was planted that forms a natural side of the house, accompanying a mural on this curved wall. The north side was worked as a large concrete wall with a blue “eye” sticking out to make the dining room window. I wish you could add a view of this side here. The west is the most transparent side, just a concrete frame with a complete structure of thermopane glass that allows the sea and the beach to visually enter the house.

The mural is worked in collaboration with the sculptor Lautaro Labbe, sensitive to the realities lived in the place:

“In the wall of the Mauleen house, reference is made to the surrounding marine landscape, and direct reference to the geological strata and material elements of Schwager: the coal works, their galleries, the beams of light projected by the helmets and the tower with their pulleys, to descend to the mine in harmony with the architecture, the mural incorporates in its design, the entrance stairs and terrace, with a volumetric sense. “(comments by Lautaro Labbé)

The entry is by the side of the house through a staircase framed by the mural that pays tribute to the history of the place and its materials. This staircase leads directly to an outer hall on the second level, framed by a red door. We enter the public zone: living, dining room, a flexible place where Marleen, Amalia and Violeta share their time. This place of double height that is projected on the horizon and the sea through a small terrace and serves as a viewpoint.

In the middle, we find the staircase that connects vertically the three levels of the house. This ladder goes through the centre of the volume and also configures the kitchen that is in the back. The kitchen opens to the east side, facing the hill but has a large opening to the dining room. A kitchen is a place of family experience and during the weekends is transformed into a social space, with an exit to the backyard, and the terrace for breakfast. The first and second staircase is made of wood and the lower staircase is a volume that contains the bathroom and storage. The rest are the concrete platform that emerge from the wall giving the feeling of being floating. The railing as such does not exist, being replaced by some tensioners placed in a random way. On the third level, above the kitchen, there is a private studio that overlooks the living room. This space opens both to living and to the beach, and to the courtyard of the house. On the lower level, we find the bedrooms and bathrooms. This first intimate level opens on the oceanfront (two bedrooms), and on the quiet side of the building (master bedroom) to the family interior patio. This allows keeping private places totally isolated from the higher places. For Marleen this “private” place is very important, because being a highly sociable and friendly woman, she constantly receives friends from both local and foreign countries, and this “disconnection” ensures a certain preservation of privacy: Amalia, the eldest, wished to have a place just for them and feel that their space was not “invaded” by the constant visits.