Casa Apolo 11, a secluded forest retreat by Parra + Edwards

small house Casa Apolo 11 by Parra + Edwards

This small 2-story house sits in a deciduous forest on the outskirts of Santiago, Chile. It was designed by Parra + Edwards Arquitectos. The house is a simple rectangular box given architectural interest by the patchwork pattern of alternating glass and solid wall.

Supposedly it was named for Apollo 11 because it was conceived to be “like a ship that landed in a forest without touching it at any time and will undertake its departure, leaving the forest intact.” That sounds like pure architectural hubris; no one but an architect would imagine that a house could be built in a formerly untouched forest with no impact. However with the largely transparent lower level, the more solid-walled upper level does appear from some angles to be hovering like a spaceship.

small house Casa Apolo 11 by Parra + Edwards

The car parking area is at a distance from the house. A wooden boardwalk leads through the forest to the house. Approaching visitors are treated to a pretty good view of the interior thanks to a big window next to the front door. That would make us feel a bit uncomfortable, but we don’t live there.

small house Casa Apolo 11 by Parra + Edwards

The compact home has two floors totaling 108 m2 (1,163 ft2). The open main level has the kitchen, dining and living rooms. There is a large deck off the living room. The living room is set off from the dining area by a small change in level, a couple of steps down, which also gives it an extra high ceiling. Large windows on all sides help to alleviate the darkness of the forest setting. With the leaves off in winter, the house should be much brighter than in these photos. Open-riser stairs lead to the upper floor where there is a very large master bedroom, a second bedroom and a shared bathroom.

Chile seems to be a hotbed for small house architecture in South America. We have recently looked at the clifftop house in Buchupureo and the Casa B8 modern beach house, and we have more lined up. Enjoy the photos, and your comments are welcome!

Photographs by Rodrigo Avilés, courtesy of Parra + Edwards Arquitectos.

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