The province of Pichincha in the northern Sierra region of Ecuador wraps around the slopes of a dormant stratovolcano. Although its capital and largest city is Quito, one of the most visited destinations in the entire country, Pichincha also boasts some spectacularly secluded forested landscapes in the highland areas of the Andes Mountains. It was here that architects at RAMA Estudio were tasked with a modular home expansion for a largely nomadic family that decided to stay put in their home during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Whereas the family could previously get away with smaller spaces due to keeping their stays short and sporadic in the house (which totaled just 65 square meters) pre-COVID, the challenge came in creating a larger space once they decided to move in permanently. The clients requested expanding the existing home to include social areas and independent bedrooms for each of their children, all to be completed within three months. RAMA Estudio responded with an industrially prefabricated piece that could subtly sit on the ground, attaching itself to the existing structure.
As the home is positioned over a slope overlooking the valley, care was taken to understand the natural environment and refrain from disturbing the soil or degrading the vegetation. Additionally, no construction waste was created that wasn’t reused for other projects or within the site itself. For example, all material that could be reused from the facade demolition was sorted to improve the ground in areas surrounding the building.
The project features a system of metal channels that work as the structure for the floor and roof, both of which are thermally insulated and allow for vegetation to grow, similar to a green roof. Hanging plants overflow from the rooftop to complement the floor-to-ceiling windows, helping the building camouflage into its naturally vegetated surroundings. Regular modules built with plywood panels run from each end to create storage, decorative surfaces and screens toward the bedrooms. There are separate modules for the stove and television, including one for the kitchen that contains other appliances and cabinets.
Images courtesy of Jag Studio