These modern Morerava Cabins on Easter Island offer a low-impact yet comfortable retreat on the remote island. They were conceived by AATA Associate Architects to provide environmentally-sensitive accommodations that harness simple design strategies paired with low-tech resource-efficient building. Incorporating prefab building techniques with low water and energy needs, the cabins respect the island's cultural and environmental legacy.
The project celebrates sustainable design in a challenging environment where its impact can be the most beneficial. The cabins were built in on the Chilean mainland and placed on piers to eliminate the need for local resources and to protect the native vegetation. The piers’ placement was carefully planned to protect the floor system from moisture damage. Because of the moderate climate the cabins do not need insulation – this allows the lightweight, exposed scissor roof and walls to become the primary design element. The vertical board exterior and zinc steel roof maintain a rustic quality.
Each of the nine cabins can accommodate six people, however they are cleverly designed to maintain privacy despite the close quarters. The secret is offset panels of glass that run high on one side and low on the other, eliminating direct lines of sight between the cabins while still allowing access to plenty of indirect light. Cross-ventilation through the windows maintains the interior climate. The steel roof is offset from the roof deck to allow hot air to escape.
Although water taps are available, each of the cabins has a rain catchment and filter system to provide water for primary needs. Water is heated by low-cost solar batch water heaters protruding from the roof tops, which require no electricity — instead they use thermosiphoning, which eliminates the need for imported fuel.
WHY THIS MATTERS
The Morerava Cabins blend low-tech off-grid systems with low-impact building to offer a comfortable retreat in a sensitive environmental area.