Chilean studio DX Architectos have designed a timber roof-top extension in Santiago for Ashtanga Yoga Chile – the oldest school in the country specialised in this method of yoga. The addition has been added to the roof of the client’s house, who wanted a spiritual retreat where she could teach and practice yoga.
In essence, the studio consists of a carefully crafted pine box. “We chose wood because it is suitable for absorbing the moisture generated during the practice of yoga, and it contributes to the calm atmosphere of the studio,” explain lead architect German Rodríguez of DX Architectos.
The frame of the extension is purposely left exposed, doubling up as a ledge for showcasing objects, but also a connection to the practice of yoga in a more spiritual dimension. “We wanted the express the building’s materials and its construction process,” explains the architects; “the exposed structure also relates to the structure of the human body and an understanding of yoga as the practice of ‘body art’.”
Rodríguez explains the client’s request: “It needed to satisfy all the conditions for the comfortable practice of yoga – good ventilation, good acoustic and thermal insulation, and a spiritual atmosphere.”
We particularly like the low-level window details, which allows the yogi to exercise and connect directly with the exterior leafy surroundings. According to the architects, the low-level windows also create a particular atmosphere, allowing for a “more spiritual space that looks inward, similar to a temple”.
Architecturally, the low-level window strips make a statement and give the extension the effect of being a top-heavy, floating timber structure. “The idea was to create a line of light that separates the studio from the house, so it almost appears to be suspended,” says Rodríguez.
But the glazing design is not simply aesthetic, it serves a very practical purpose as well by screaming the studio from direct sunlight, whilst still allowing for passive cross ventilation.
Contrary to the untreated pine interiors, outside, the building shows off a blackened pine exterior. The effect is given by what is commonly known as a carbonileo finish – a protective timber treatment traditionally used in Chile.
“The idea was to create a contrast of light and dark between the interior and exterior,” said Rodríguez.
The 120-square-metre studio space also has an entrance hall with separate bathrooms and changing rooms on either side which can be accessed independently from the residence below by stairs at the back of the property.