The center was constructed on piers, which reduced the impact absorbed by the foundation, holes of which were dug by hand. The batter boards, ladders and scaffold were constructed from the repurposed branches of the pine tree removed from the site. Every piece of material was transported to the site by local oxen (twice a day); the oxen also aided in the raising of the first truss. Lumber was sourced and cut locally and was obtained within a perimeter of five miles. Exterior cladding was treated and sealed with an ancient Japanese preservation technique called shou sugi ban, which naturally prevents insect infestation and protects the wood for hundreds of years. The interior was painted with a water based paint providing a color palette of the local aesthetic that is referential of thermal hot baths popular to the region.
In summer 2016, a group of students travelled to the remote town of Antihuala, Chile to build a small community center. The center was constructed to commemorate a significant event in the history of the community, and as an expression of the potential for unification between major corporations and local municipalities.
Situated in a clearing in the forest on the southern edge of the Laguna Antihuala, the pavilion facilitates the local community’s recreational use of the lagoon and frames the beauty of the landscape. The pavilion also provides a location for concerts, meetings and community celebrations.
The form of the pavilion recalls the ziggurat of ancient Latin American pyramids, and construction methods were inspired by local tradition. The steeply sloped roof is constructed of ten trusses that were raised with the aid of oxen from the community. Fixed seating mediates the angle between roof and floor; natural lighting enters from the entrance, its facing viewing window and an oculus. The pavilion is clad in charred pine siding, a naturally durable finish that is typical to the area. The interior of the pavilion is painted in orange, a color traditional in Chilean interiors, which contrasts the muted colors of the natural surroundings.
Most of the construction was completed by the students. Members of the community also contributed, both in aspects of the building process, and by offering insight into traditional regional construction methods. The generous and enthusiastic collaboration of the community is, indeed, what made the project possible and ultimately successful.
Students of the College of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology