The barn is part of a group of constructions scattered in a 3ha site on the foothills of the cordillera de Los Andes near Santiago.
Conceived to house 14 showjumping horses, the simple gable roof structure is designed to allow enough natural light in to work indoors through out the year with minimum artificial light required.
First time I climbed on the back of a horse I might have been about two years old, the average age for a family steeped in equestrian tradition, if not earlier. Since then, horses and horsemanship have been part of my life.
Horse riding hasn´t changed significantly throughout time; It´s essence is still the same, but the dedication and care given to horses have modernized.
A horse barn for fourteen show-jump horses can be managed by two or three people. Early morning starts with feeding, then horses are groomed before exercising. To finish off the morning duties, stalls are cleaned and horses are showered. Afternoon goes by on saddling, unsaddling, showering, cleaning, and foraging once again.
All those things happen nowadays in spaces that are different from the collective imagery (oftenly romantic) about the “good old ranch”.
Maicon and Almendra takes care of the horses while Chico Messi´s steady gaze on the court assures it´s perfectly leveled.
It all begins at 6am in the main stable, where most of the actions take place. Natural lighting is primordial.
The barn is part of a group of vernacular structures a scattered on 5 acres in the Andes foothills. It stands amidst the presence of an old group of Quillayes, a native tree in central Chile.
Centered in the plot there´s a training arena perfectly leveled. Not far, a covered exercise ring, an equipment barn and a terrace where to grab a beer after riding. The terrain was shaped and contained by walls of about 4 to 5 feet tall made out of local stones.
In the barn, great skylight runs along the structure allowing a 350 lux of soft and regular light into the interior year round. The most of it concentrates in the center, a spacious area in which brooms perform their duties. The skylight slims towards both ends reducing light to a dimmed quiet ambiance for the horses to rest in their stalls. Ceiling curved surfaces prevents backlighting effect, while a double layer of whitened glass generates an undifferentiated blur or light halo with no contrast, as if the suspended air had been lit.
When seen from a distance, both its shape and texture makes it disappear not only to the eye but also to the memory, fading away along with the hundred similar stables we might have seen. The inner scene remains secret.
When opening the gates there´s an outright surprise on the visitors, as there is no transitional space between the exterior and interior.
The roofing geometry is unnoticeably complex. A subtle variation in the roof ridge width generates an asymmetric curvature on the roof surface, changing its pitch angle along its length. The outer layer of metallic tiles settles as a textile negotiating with this geometry with no trouble. Daylight reflects off this skin displaying different hues on its “satin bronze” color.
This project was built on laminated timber. Structure and enclosures were prefabricated and computationally mechanized in a factory in Los Angeles, Chile.
The assembly took 45 days.