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Black-Painted Pine Pairs with Steel in a Rugged & Dramatic Chilean Cabin

Casa R 1

We’ve seen some seriously cool pine architecture (and even furniture!) that’s either painted black for a striking modern appearance or intentionally, carefully charred with a technique like “shou sugi ban” to make it stronger and more resistant to moisture, mold, insects and even fire. While some people might find black architecture creepy, others find it pleasingly graphic and dramatic. A new project by architect Felipe Lagos uses the former approach for a sleek holiday refuge designed for an extreme climate.

Casa R 5

Casa R 4

Casa R is a compact vacation home set in a steep ravine in the town of Vilches, Chile, halfway up the Andes mountain range. Remote and private, the parcel enjoys beautiful views and access to a variety of nearby nature reserves and national parks. It’s a prime location for summer fun, but for much of the year, damp and cold weather conditions present a challenge. The house had to be welcoming and comfortable while also respecting the sensitive nature of the building site.

Casa R 3

The architects designed the home as a narrow volume that slots into the available building space without requiring any trees to be cut down. All of the components were prefabricated offsite and assembled as a series of modules for both of the two floors, including the woodshed and access area, kitchenette, bathroom and terraces on the ground floor and the master bedroom, living room and work desk on the second level.

Casa R 6

Casa R 2

The roof – steeply sloped to allow snow to slide right off in winter – is black steel, which pairs beautifully with the pine wood used inside and out. Some of that pine is finished with black copper-based Carbolíneo Química Universal, a protective liquid that gives it its striking hue. For the interiors, grooved pine plywood brings warmth to the space in its raw, unfinished state. The contrast of the black materials and the beauty of the pale pine is always a strong aesthetic choice, providing contrast and keeping the house from feeling too dark and dour.

What do you think – would you live in a black painted house?


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