portico de los huéspedes

Design and Construction Workshop
Ciudad Abierta, Ritoque (CL)

Summer 2018
Project by Open City Research Platform EPFL ENAC
Supervised by Patricia Guaita (EPFL), Sony Devabhaktuni (HKU) and David Jolly (PUCV)


EPFL Summer School

EPFL Summer Chantier 2018

Founded in 1970, the Open City occupies a 300 hectare parcel of land on the Pacific Ocean, 1 hour north of Valparaiso, Chile. The land comprises diverse ecosystems including wetlands, dunes and temperate forests. The Open City was founded by teachers from the School of Architecture and Design of the Pontifical Catholic University of Valpariaso as a place to explore the humanistic potential of architecture and a means to propose new forms of community. El Portico de los Huéspedes is the first permanent structure to be proposed in the Open City in nearly 12 years and was begun through the collaboration between EPFL and the PUCV in the summer of 2014.

During the summer of 2018, the participants of the workshop were tasked with enclosing the South Wing of the Portico, which consists of an administration office, a bathroom and a small kitchen. During one month of intense work on site, the participants designed and constructed the exterior facade, openings, interior walls and the floor.

One of the main tasks was design and construction of openings for light and ventilation on the south facade. The openings were designed and constructed in response to the existing structure — the flexible formwork concrete columns that support the flat concrete roof, and the laminated plywood ribs that act as substructure for the wooden facade cladding. Furthermore, light conditions, programme and ventilation were considered. The resulting niches are three protruding wooden elements which react to the existing columns; framing them from the outside. The columns stand in front of the glass openings and reflect the natural light to the interior, while obscuring the view of the exterior landscape. The perception of the columns, the niches and the exterior constantly transforms with the movement through the interior space.