Houses of Patagonia
There are very few frontiers left; much of the world has been claimed, conquered by civilizations and their distinctive, sprawling footprints. Yet there are a few regions where man has yet to tame the fierce forces of nature; Patagonia is one such region.
Voyaging to the literal end of the world - El Chaltén is a hiker's haven nestled in a vast, insurmountable natural cradle of mountains, glaciers, and forceful winds that one wonders how such a modest settlement of one-story homes came to exist at all. The Patagonian village was born out of a border dispute between Argentina and Chile in 1985 and today houses just 400 permanent residents, its population ebbing and flowing with the tourists who come to pay pilgrimage to Argentina Patagonia and its breathtaking landscapes.
One can sense the pure necessity in El Chaltén's architectural style. So far South, the seasons revolve rapidly around the clock, at times bringing the sensation of a Winter morning, a Spring afternoon and a Fall sunset all in the same day. The architecture is prepared; concrete and brick structures and metal roofing protects from insurmountable and unforeseen threats of snowfall, reinforced windows and metal siding proving functional yet strong against extreme winds that bring promise of change.
And yet the architecture extends far beyond the functional; El Chaltén's style is reflective of its status as a portal to such magnificent nature. The homes seek to avoid conflict with the mountainous backdrops visible from every inch of the town, crafting an unimposing skyline that encourages every stranger to unite as a community against nature's unbeatable forces that we have yet to tame.