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2018 MCHAP

The Cabin

Sebastian Calero Larrea

Quito, Ecuador

September 2016


Sebastián Calero Larrea


José Miguel Calero Castro (Architect) Patricio Ernesto Cevallos Salas (Structural Engineer) Carlos Andrés Valverde Arias (Illustrator)


Juan Carlos Chaves Larrea


Juan Alberto Andrade Guillem Sebastián Calero Larrea


The Cabin, is the name acquired by the project throughout the process, especially for its similarity to those approach to the travel cubicles where everything is compact, public and fluid. It is implanted in a small fraction of land and germinates from an old and dominant tree. Due to the very limited surface, the project seeks to optimize a fair percentage of the plot and establish strategic contacts with the vegetation, which remained intact from beginning to end. The rural, imprecise and handcrafted character of the surroundings was the biggest repository of ideas for the articulation of a small-scale, low-cost and extremely context-driven architecture. Within this framework, textures and patterns, as well as informal constructions and anonymous ruins, have been reinterpreted, leading into a vividly colorful and artisanal project, brimming with simplicity. The proposal consists of two concrete platforms separated from the ground, a light wooden skeleton and a mixed skin (brick, wood, metal and glass) which, just like a wrapper, seals the home. Deep inside, this envelope hides a topography of spaces overlapping with naturalness, differentiating the public from the private areas. The final result is a compact, rustic and multifaceted object, plenty of surprises, which interacts intensely with the exterior through voids, openings and movement flows.


The project is located in the Valley of the Chillos, 20 km from the city of Quito. It is settled in a family property, within an area that was quite rural in the mid-70s, surrounded by narrow roads and fertile lands. Many years have passed, and it is the grandchildren of the family the ones who nowadays live together in this plot, looking forward to achieving a better quality of life than the one offered by the city. Today, the property is a small family island, intimate and safe, that still keeps deep inside the memory of the first communal refuge, a small cabin handcrafted with brick, wood and tile. Unfortunately, the rural context has changed rapidly in recent times. The city of Quito has increasingly grown into the valleys and the demand for housing has caused the real estate to colonize the area little by little. The project, a challenge built in complicity with the clients, is a low-cost housing placed inside this familiar context, that aims to rescue a footprint of local architecture which is still present, by appraising the economy of the materials and building with artisanal techniques.


The most important achievements of the project are: the inside-outside relation, and the fusion between structure, skin and space. Both always under the guidance of small details manufacture. Thus, an atlas of singular pieces and mechanisms are part of its internal landscape, which, based on a unified criterion of manufacture, multiplies its applications. These conditions give the house an atmosphere of warmth and domesticity, very typical of a country house. The house is planned to grow in the future. Clients have clearly assimilated design strategies and guidelines to continue designing their home. By doing so, the initial result will not be affected; neither will the material, spatial and constructive logics of the object interrupted. The process of imagining the house has been a constant experience of reflection and inquiry. On the one hand, to understand the impact of a serial, invasive and dehumanized typology that is currently present in the valley and on the other, to try to rescue a silent architectural memory existing in the surroundings. Consequently, the process of thinking, systematizing and constructing the work was quite experimental and intuitive. The result, as such, is a testing lab that always sought to intertwine all programmed conditions.

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