Portillo, V Region, CHILE
Architects: Nicolás del Rio – Max Núñez
Collaborator: Cristóbal Tirado
Location: Portillo, V Region, Chile
Finished: June 2006
Clients: Ski Portillo S.A
Structural Engineer: Enzo Valladares
Building Contractor: Ski Portillo S.A
Built Surface: 110 m²
Materials: Concrete, steel, stone
Photographs: Max Núñez, Felipe Camus

In the surroundings of the Hotel Portillo, located at 3000m altitude in the Andes mountain range, we were invited to design a strategy in which the hotel would face its future constructions and facilities outside the old building.

The SkiBox is a programmatic hybrid of 110m2 with toilets for skiers, a cafeteria and an office for ski patrols. 

This small construction was designed from a simple constructive strategy given by the overlapping of two different constructive layers: a stone podium that would anchor the building to the ground and a lighter steel and glass box on top of it. The relationship between the two structures is generated through expanded joints, making each element independent, in order to fracture the reading of the box.

The parts are organized in a clear horizontal stratification, establishing a similarity with the proportions of the hotel. Visually we aimed for a form that had more relation to a technical container than with the romantic idea of a mountain cottage. 

The toilets are located on the first floor, inside the podium, allowing for the setting of the construction onto the irregular topography. The extended proportions of the wall lighten its relation with the superior box, uniting it to the landscape. The stone used is obtained from the site and is worked without precision, helping to dilute the volume in the surrounding landscape in the months without snow.

On a second level, over the podium, are arranged: the office for the ski patrols, a small warehouse and cafeteria. The box is constructed with a steel structure, rusted steel panels and glass. The rusty colour of the metal resembles the colour of rocks of the mountain, so although there is a contrast between the defined geometry of the volume and the landscape, there is a chromatic affinity with it. The gap between the panels accentuates the idea of a construction by layers, in the same way that mountain clothes are made. The materials, rock and steel, will age well under the extreme climatic conditions of the mountain. Their natural weathering will evidence the passing of time.