Explore two of the DECO team’s top choices in eco-conscious contemporary cabin getaways in the Americas. We made the great escape in our November issue to designer cabins around the globe, and these are best discoveries from Chile and Mexico.
RF C9 Mountain Refuge | San Esteban, Chile
With its geometric structure, blackened pine-clad exterior and spacious minimalist interiors, this mountaineer’s refuge near San Esteban in Chile’s Valparaíso Region is the epitome of modern cabin design. Its architecture by Gonzalo Iturriaga Arquitectos is almost origami-esque in its construction and features numerous overlapping folds, some of which have been made into glazed windows of varying shapes that frame views of the surrounding mountains. The biggest challenge for the firm was working around the site’s rocky terrain, making it important to elevate the RF C9 cabin off the ground to ensure an even base for the building – a necessity that also allows for ventilation from all sides.
On the one end of the structure are two bedrooms and a bathroom, while at the other is an open-plan living area with a dining room, kitchen and lounge that opens onto decking shaded by a triangular plane of asymmetrical roof. Untreated wooden interiors contrast with black window frames and the striking façade, giving the building a contemporary aesthetic that is somehow still in harmony with its natural environment. Spanning 60m2, RF C9 may be more of a small house than a cabin, speaking of the firm’s brief to create a comfortable space where its mountaineer owner can rest for the night after a hike and admire the breath-taking scenery.
Encuentro Guadalupe | Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico
Spanning 99ha of ecological reserve in the heart of ‘Mexico’s Wine Country’, Encuentro Guadalupe is a tourist development that includes a winery, restaurant, swimming pool and 22 lodges built into the bouldered hillside. Mexican architect Jorge Gracia’s approach when designing these EcoLofts came from the idea of a ‘deluxe camping house’ – one that covered guests’ basic needs while allowing them to be fully immersed in nature and the landscape. His solution was individual square cabins of 20m2 each, all with a private patio and chimenea fireplace that encourage staring at the scenery during the day and lengthy star-gazing at night.
As for the decor, it’s crisp, clean and compellingly chic, featuring industrial accents such as pipe lamp fixtures, retro Edison bulbs and sliding melamine doors juxtaposed against smooth white melamine walls. One of the guiding factors behind this project was the preservation of the land, and accordingly, the lofts are raised so as not to damage the soil below. The use of corten steel for the exteriors was also a conscious decision because of the fact that the material changes colour over time, resulting in the cabins achieving greater harmony with the environment as the years pass.