29th January, 2020.
In Chile, an architectural evolution is underway.
Beginning with the conception of a multifaceted plan by visionary architect Eduardo Godoy, the Ochoalcubo (Eight Cubed) project begin in the 1980’s with the intent to steer away from Chile’s cookie-cutter housing models whilst fostering the possibilities of architecture, and exposing budding student architects to some of the worlds best.
The project had an ambitious plan supported by pragmatic design development. 8 projects, with 8 buildings designed by 8 architects, resulting in an outstanding expression of aesthetic individuality and site responsiveness.
With a coastal aspect chosen for the first stage of the project, eight houses emerged designed by four established and four emerging local architects. The common parameters of the site, the materiality (concrete was nominated as the primary material), and the freedom of design resulted in an astounding celebration of residential outcome.
Referred to as a ‘laboratory of architecture’ the Ochoalcubo project has established a chapter of research, education and experiment. Stage 2 has followed since the projects inception and, united by the need to rebuild following two consecutive earthquakes in the space of 12 months, resulted in a collaborative approach between leading Spanish and Japanese experts in the discipline – including Mathias Klotz, Sebastian Irarrazaval, Cecilia Puga, Smiljan Radic, Kazuyo Sejima and Toyo Ito.
8Quebradas (Eight Cliffs) – proposed to design 8 + 8 houses on the Chilean coast under the guidance of master urbanism Robert Moris, has reinforced the freedom of architectural practise in myriad forms. The results elicit residences that proudly rise from the rocky coastal landscape as concrete sculptures that almost seem to have been wrestled from the very ground they rest upon. The intentional gravitas with which each resonate is at odds with the notion of fragility that is provoked from forms that are designed to look as though they have toppled or been toyed with by the gods. 8Quebradas is a humbling nod to natural forces and the astounding power of our environment and, above all, it is architecture unleashed in a surprising and inspiring way that gives the idea that anything is possible.
Words by Tiffany Jade.
Images courtesy of @Ochoalcubo