Shangri-la Cabin by DRAA and Magdalena Besomi

DRAA has designed Shangri-la Cabin in collaboration with Magdalena Besomi. Located in Las Trancas, Chillán, Chile, the 50-sqm (538-sqft) cabin was completed in 2016.

Cabin Shangrila is the first of a series of elevated mountain cabins designed to populate a tall native woodland. Trees dating various centuries can be found in the plot delimited by a 100-metre vertical basalt face and a stream.

The soil is rich in biodiversity but also depicts the battle occurring in the wood; large fallen trees rotting and supporting new life, layers of volcanic ash combine with fallen branches that randomly reshape the flow of water. In wintertime, the canopy thins allowing more light and thick snow to penetrate.

The cabin lifts upwards similar to a tree in the search for light, buttressing on a thin platform, minimising the impact on the ground. The concrete platform presents oblique and opposing angles, detaching from the sturdy and the predictable.

This base is elevated 3 metres above ground where a light prefabricated SIP board system is installed. The system consists of a 212mm polystyrene core, a high level of insulation. In the interior of the cabin the circulation continues upwards with small level differences that categorise each space and nook; the air-lock entrance, the toilet, the room , the kitchenette and finally the sitting room at the end, with a massive glazing facing north just above the canopy.


Process of Construction and Drawings:


Photographs by Felipe Camus
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