Page D3.1 . 11 April 2007                     
ArchitectureWeek - Design Department
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    Casa Mauleen

    by Paul Harris

    On a beach near an abandoned mine on Chile's former "coal coast," the Mauleen House merges historical industrial connections with the raw beauty and energy of the location. Concrete winch towers of the Schwager coal mine dominate the neighborhood's horizon and influence details of the house design.

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    With strong winds howling in off the Pacific Ocean and a scorching sun beating down on a strip of black-sand beach, the seafront property is not a "tranquil beach of the summer," says architect José Miguel Heras, of Factoria Ltda. Indeed, the building lot, land-filled with industrial debris, forced the architect to think in the vertical plane to minimize ground contact.

    The coal mining heritage of the location, Coronel in Region VIII, was one of the borrowed references for the design. But the architects, not wanting to replicate the industrial icons, sought a modernist edge for the 1200-square-foot (110-square-meter) house.

    "We took certain heights and lines from existing buildings as reference to trace some relationships, but we did not want to imitate the existing architectural typology because it symbolized the past. We wanted to propose architecture of today for this location," says Heras.

    The firm Factoría, which also includes principal Susana Andrea Herrera, attempts to "not leave anything out" when considering project variables of "family nucleus, cultural context, cost, our vision about architecture, and that of the future inhabitants," according to Heras.   >>>

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    ArchWeek Image

    Casa Mauleen, by Factoria Ltda, on the Chilean coast.
    Photo: Jose Luis Saavedra

    ArchWeek Image

    Industrial materials recall the region's coal-mining history.
    Photo: Jose Luis Saavedra


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