This work corresponds to the rehabilitation and expansion of a house built in 1970 in the commune of Las Condes, city of Santiago. It is part of a set of 25 one-story houses, designed by the architects Christian de Groote, Victor Gubbins and Hector Mery. All the houses are arranged in such a way that they adjoin each other, allowing a better use of the land, granting each one a garden to the north and another one to the south. The dividing walls, in turn, consolidate an intermediate walled yard.

Project`s Name: Golfo de Darien House
Office of Architecture: Cristobal Vial Arquitectos
Architect Author: Cristóbal Vial Decombe
Location: Golfo de Darien, Las Condes – Santiago, Chile
Year Finish construction: 2015
Surface: (m2)213 m2
Photographer: Cristóbal Vial
Builder: Jaime Escuti / Francisco Green
Structural Calculation: Alberto Ramirez
Landscaping: Paula and Magdalena Bravo

Golfo de Darien House by Cristobal Vial Arquitectos - Sheet1
©Cristóbal Vial

For this particular work, intended for a family with three children, it was requested to intervene and adapt it to the needs of its new users. The first thing was to eliminate all the modifications suffered in the time, as they are light and material extensions that presented a clear wear. Thus, it is proposed as a strategy to open perimeter walls to integrate the views of the courtyards, enhance existing skylight and give greater prominence of the light yard. The chimney is also eliminated, replacing it with a floating concrete wall that fulfills the double function of space separator and at the same time of the shelf.

Golfo de Darien House by Cristobal Vial Arquitectos - Sheet2
©Cristóbal Vial

The house built with reinforced masonry, slab and reinforced concrete beams, maintains the same constructive logic in its new surface. Projecting the completely new service area, incorporating two light yard and a new skylight on its roof, which follows the same logic as the existing ones. For the bedroom sector, a new bathroom is incorporated and for both the exterior wall is released, building a structural element hanging and separated from the facade that allows greater spaciousness, privacy and brightness inside.

Golfo de Darien House by Cristobal Vial Arquitectos - Sheet3
©Cristóbal Vial

The entire heating system is renewed, incorporating the use of high efficiency aerothermal heat pump and radiant slab system. In addition to the incorporation of thermopanel crystals for all its openings.

The exterior renovation, starts from the street access, building a new access that is configured by a curved wall of exposed concrete that leads to the door of the house. This in turn, is used to define the new sector of parking and barbecue area.

Golfo de Darien House by Cristobal Vial Arquitectos - Sheet4
©Cristóbal Vial

The consolidation of the three courtyards of the house, allows a fluid journey, in a same level. For the intermediate courtyard a wooden deck is projected, which gives greater warmth and permanence to the space.

The predominant materials used in this work are wood, stone, glass, steel and exposed concrete, always trying to put in value the original structure and adding a contemporary language that not only accounts for its interior, but more well of a whole that integrates the vegetation to the work.


Cristóbal Vial was born in Santiago, Chile on January 11, 1979.

Architect from Finis Terrae University in 2003 and Master in Urban Planning at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia in 2008. In the latter he graduated with the research thesis “Urban topologies, intervention strategies in metropolitan transition areas”.

When he graduated as an Architect, he traveled to Barcelona in 2004, where in parallel with the master’s degree studies, he worked as a collaborator in the study Oscar Tusquets (2005-2006), participating in various medium and large-scale projects, such as equipment, public spaces, residences and offices.

Upon his return to Chile, he joined the Secretariat of Urban Planning of the Municipality of Lo Barnechea, proposed policies of public facilities and territorial planning.

In the academic field, between 2007 and 2015, he worked as a full professor, instructor and guest at the architecture schools of the University of Chile, Diego Portales University and Finis Terrae University, where he actively participated in the commission and evaluation work of various degree projects and preliminary projects.

From 2009 to date, he works independently and associated with different architects. Focused on the development and execution of projects and contests at all scales, mainly with interest in the public and domestic. Always trying to dialogue with the urban or rural environment, formal exploration and innovation, put the structural and spatial order in order to get closer to the constructive detail and the passive elements, which give order and harmony to a work.

He has participated in various public and private competitions, obtaining in 2010 the 1st place in the contest “Urban Image for Nueva Chaitén”, Los Lagos Region organized by the Ministry of Housing.

In 2012, it obtained the 1st Place for the development of Post-Earthquake Urban Regeneration Plans, for the cities of Santa Cruz, Palmilla, Placilla and Peralillo.

In 2013, he obtained the 1st place for the project “Costanera de Entre Lagos”, Lake Puyehue, Los Lagos Region.

In 2016 is awarded through the Cultural Donation Law the development of the “Tierra Amarilla Cultural Center” Project, Atacama Region.

The year 2008, is part of the publication in UPC Editions, Spain for the joint work “Project the territory in times of uncertainty”, directed by Joaquim Sabaté, for the Camp de Tarragona, Catalonia – Spain.

Selected in 2013 to show his professional work in the architecture school of the Finis Terrae University.

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