Mountain cabin ‘Shangrila’ | DRAA+Magdalena Besomi 

| 18 : 00 – 21 November 2018 |


Shangrila, Mountain cabin, Cabin in woods, Chile, About Design World


First amongst a series of elevated mountain cabin – Shangrila designed by DRAA + Magdalena Besomi is located in Chilean woodlands.

A concrete platform supports the elevated cabin keeping ground surface free and minimizing construction impact on ground. Alike the trees rising tall seeking sunlight in dense woods, the mountain cabin is clad internally in charred timber and externally in pinewood planks. This highly insulated cabin has multi-level spaces along the vertical circulation space. Built as a part of family activity, the owners themselves were involved in the construction process of Shangrila.


Construction in progress.      Photo credit – © Magdalena Besomi

From the Architects – 


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.


Shangrila – Glowing in evening.      Photo credit – © Magdalena Besomi


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.


A great contrast clad in snow.      Photo credit – © Felipe Camus


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.


Concrete platform.      Photo credit – © Magdalena Besomi

Construction system of the mountain cabin – 

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.


Elevated cabin seeking minimal ground impact.      Photo credit – © Magdalena Besomi


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.


mountain cabin, Shangrila, CAD drawings, working drawings

Elevations, Sections and floor plans – Shangrila


Interiors clad in timber planks.      Photo credit – © Magdalena Besomi


The owners themselves directed the construction process. They worked with a local team and the extended family that summons on occasions to build as a family activity; assembling metal stairs and railings, installing the built-in furniture and other chores such as charring wood planks. All these tasks learnt through years of DIY experimentation on pod prototypes on land and sea.


Rising tall amongst the woods.      Photo credit – © Felipe Camus

Materials – 

In terms of materials, the house is clad inside with timber planks from trees fell on site whereas the exterior is clad with charred pine planks following the Japanese Yakisugi principle.


Concrete supporting base for the cabin.      Photo credit – © Magdalena Besomi


Cabin Shangrila is a collaborative project that mingles in the wood with simplicity and respect for nature, surprising the strollers with a bold geometric and structural proposal.


Exteriors clad in charred pinewood planks.     Photo credit – © Felipe Camus


Project details –


Project Name – Cabin Shangrila

Location – Las Trancas, Nevados Chillan, Chile

Architect – DRAA / Del Rio Arquitectos Asociados + Magdalena Besomi

Design team –  Nicolas del Rio, Felipe Camus, Magdalena Besomi

Area – Built surface – 45 sq.m. | Ground surface – 1 hectare / 2.47 Acres

Project type – Mountain shelter, Mountain cabin, Leisure stay

Project start year – 2014 | Completion Year – 2016

Photography Credits – © Magdalena Besomi, © Felipe Camus

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