Located in Malalcahuello, in the Araucania region of Chile is a winter retreat perfect for observing nature. Designed by Francisca Cifuentes and Alejandro Maorales of MC2 Arquitectos, the 48sqm Winter Cabin has a sloped roof for snow dispersal, an elevated wood walkway for access even when the snow is one meter high, and a large expanse of glass overlooking the Northern views toward a small waterfall. The interior volume is a small, open plan clad in bleached pinewood and punctuated with additional windows strategically positioned for ventilation and light.
The view to the waterfall is paramount to the positioning of the home and while the view of the creek is up close and personal, the waterfall just a few meters up upstream is an exciting burst of energy that can be enjoyed from the warmth of the cabine or from the picnic table just outside.
Access to the Winter Cabin is downhill and on foot via a wooden walkway that has been raised high enough to keep clear of snow falls (up to one meter high) and due to the rough terrain, much of this walkway is more of a staircase then a flat plane. This changes at the point of the creek crossing where a solid wood bridge complete with handrails creates a safe passage.
The handrails on the bridge are extra important when it’s covered with snow. For the rest of the walkway a careful crossing requires concentration and careful placing of each foot for each step. This is not the time to get distracted by the stunning landscape.
When arriving at the Winter Cabin, the best place for the homeowners to get distracted by the scenery is on the bridge – whether enjoying the surrounding landscape or the water below, or even the cabin itself, the flat plane of the bridge and the handrails allows them the opportunity to relax, look around, and get excited before continuing onward to their winter escape.
On a clear day the views are expansive and exquisite. It is as though the homeowner’s live within a postcard.
On a day of snowfall the views are more contained but just as picturesque and while the home blends into the shadows of the trees the solid plane of snow on the roof is a reminder of the cabin below.
On the coldest of days the entry at the back of the cabin is a welcome sight. With a small roof overhang, the homeowner is assured of no snowing tumbling off of a tree and landing on their heads just before they step inside.
Once inside the homeowners can warm up by the fire and clothes can be hung up to dry.
Once warm and dry, they can curl up with a couple of pillows near the window and enjoy the views of the waterfall and landscape.
The wall of glazing is safe from snow pile due to the stilts that hold the view side of the cabin high above the one meter marker.
The walkway takes on a magical proportion when viewed from the warmth of the cabin. It seems more a path for forest ferries and tree spirits then a path for people.
The inside of the cabin is based on an open plan to maximize the small 48sqm space. With the fireplace located near the view wall one step down, the kitchen incorporates the rest of the same wall and features a short bank of cabinets below a window with open shelving just next to it. A propane fitting pokes through the floor locating the position of the stove that was not yet been installed.
With the propane stove installed in an island that doubles as a table, the kitchen takes on a modern and comfortable aesthetic that is made extra cheerful with the exposed dinnerware on the open shelves.
Just beside the kitchen a ladder leads to one of the private loft bedrooms. Each bedrooms is located in their own separate loft space.
The lofts are located in such a way that views out the window glazings are visible.
The foyer of the Winter cabin has closets on one side and shelving on the other to maximize storage for winter wear. Just around the corner is another five foot shelving closet for incidentals and across from it is the bathroom. Continueing around the floorplan, there is a walk-in closet flanking the bathroom before arriving at the large kitchen dining space and just past the kitchen, tucked away from view, is a small private room that can be used as either an office or extra guest sleeping.
Two lofts are positioned in the cabin, one with a queen bed and one with a double bed tightly tucked into the wall cavity. The Queen Loft is accessed from next to the kitchen wall shelving while the Double Loft is accessed just outside the bathroom within the walk in closet area.
The lofts are located to take advantage of the highest sections within the roofline.