Designer Kristofer Nonn’s innovative Eco Cabanas in remote Venezuela are inspired by stilt architecture and help locals live in a healthier, more sustainable way. In contrast to the dark and damp corrugated metal dwellings that tend to populate the Santa Elena region, Nonn’s structures are open and airy, bringing ample natural light into the interior. Using only locally-sourced and recycled materials, Nonn has created a model for sustainable and inexpensive living that will keep the people of Santa Elena comfortable and cool.
The Eco Cabanas are a comfortable and inexpensive housing solution for developing countries, giving residents a safe place to live, and also the pride of a beautiful home. Each Eco Cabana is elevated on stilts, echoing the indigenous architecture of the region, but also helping to prevent structural deterioration. The structures are built on concrete poles and simple wooden frames, made from hand split shingles of local wood.
Since glass is scarce in the region, the Eco Cabanas feature wall of recycled glass that filter natural light into the homes. Beer and liquor bottles were collected from roadways and transformed into solid glass and concrete walls, providing structural support and beautiful mosaic of glass. The north- and south-facing portions of the homes are open, which helps to maximize cross breezes, helping to cool the interior naturally.
The familiar pieces of corrugated metal, which is what many in the region are made from, are placed at opposing angles for the roofing. This angular design not only creates shade for the porches on both the front and back of the home, but it also funnels rainwater, keeping it out of the home and easily collected into barrels.