When Santiago-based AATA Architects was commissioned to design a guesthouse in Navidad, Chile, they were careful to create a building that wouldn't visually compete with the beautiful and wild landscape. The result was a tiny wood-clad cabin topped with a green roof and built mostly from natural materials to match the local vernacular. Designed to tread gently on the landscape both visually and environmentally, the 280-square-foot two-story guesthouse minimizes its carbon footprint with energy efficient features.
AATA Architects first carefully selected the site location and building orientation to the sun in order to minimize the cabin’s energy consumption. Special attention was also given to the windows, which were strategically located to allow as much sunlight in as possible during the winter and to promote cross-ventilation in the summer. Topping the miniature structure is an insulating green roof considered by the architects as the “5th facade” of the project.
Insulation was a major driving factor in the design process and also had significant implications in how the cabin was built and looked. The wall construction comprises blocks of mud-coated straw bales, a local material that is extremely abundant in the area and provides high thermal efficiency. Those bales are protected from the rain by a layer of transparent polycarbonate plate, through which the straw can be seen from the outside. Sheets of waved zinc cap the top and bottom edges of the structure. The interior was painted to white to create the illusion of spaciousness and to reduce the need for artificial light.
Images via AATA Associate Architects