News Home & Design Modernist Cabin Illuminates the Forest Like a Lantern Built on a cantilevered platform in the woods, this gorgeous A-frame styled cabin has a transparent skin that opens up its interior. By Kimberley Mok Writer McGill University Cornell University Kimberley Mok is a former architect who covered architecture and the arts for Treehugger starting in 2007. our editorial process Twitter Twitter Kimberley Mok Published January 14, 2021 03:46PM EST Cristobal Palma Share Twitter Pinterest Email News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices As long-time Treehugger readers will know, we have a penchant for cabins, particularly those of the modern variety. Out in the woodlands of Curicó, Chile, we find this lovely lantern-like gem of a cabin, which serves as a weekend getaway. Dubbed La Invernada, the structure was designed by Chilean studio Guillermo Acuña Arquitectos Asociados. Built with Chilean pinewood, with a layer of transparent and durable polycarbonate and a protective fabric mesh on top, the 580-square-foot (54-square-meter) structure is faintly reminiscent of the traditional A-frame cabin, and is spread out over three levels. As the architects explain: "The project was conceived as an object that doesn't belong to the site, that can disappear at any moment, and that talks to us of a transitory condition of occupation of the forest." That transitory condition is emphasized with the way this modernist cabin is placed on the site: instead of having it built on a foundation, it rests on a cantilevered platform above the forest floor, which elevates the house and lessens its environmental impact. In addition, the main platform itself eventually wraps itself around one of the trees on the site, reminding inhabitants that their daily routines are intimately connected with the forest. Cristobal Palma The see-through quality of the cabin adds to this interconnectedness. Not only does it offer great panoramic views of the natural landscape outside, but it also serves to bring the outdoors into the cabin's interior. At night, the transparency of this modern cabin's walls allows it to emit a warm glow, illuminating the quiet forest evening, say the architects: "Transparency plays with this impermanence as it reflects the projected shadows of the forest on its skin and the movements of it during the day." Cristobal Palma Looking up in front at the entrance, we see that distinctive "A" shape has been toned down with a curved apex. Off to the side of the house, an elevated walkway leads down to an outdoor tub for soaking in. Cristobal Palma Stepping inside, we have the ground floor of the cabin, which features a sitting area. Cristobal Palma There's a simple wood-burning stove, which serves as the main heat source. Cristobal Palma There is also an open kitchen here, equipped with a two-burner stovetop, small sink, and storage space for food. There is also a dining table and open shelving for storing pots and pans. Behind the kitchen is a more enclosed volume that houses the cabin's bathroom. Cristobal Palma Beyond that, is the bedroom at the back, which also has patio doors opening out to the deck, which wraps around a large tree at one end. The second floor is accessed by a wooden ladder, and is a quiet spot to read or soak in the views of the forest, thanks to the large number of cushions arranged carefully on the floor. The third and topmost level is similar, except that it has a smaller footprint, due to the cabin's walls sloping inward as they rise up. Cristobal Palma According to the designers, the different layers used here are meant to represent various elements in nature, as well as for their practical qualities. For instance, the Chilean pinewood is easily and accurately cut with a CNC machine, and simple to fasten with wood joints and screws. On top of this pinewood, 8-millimeter-thick polycarbonate sheeting was utilized because it can withstand strong wind gusts, and is more resistant to shattering than glass. The golden-colored mesh that covers both sides of the structure was used in order to filter out the sun, and also serves a protective function, say the architects: "The textile layer takes on the role of tinting the light gold – the colour of the oak leaves in the fall – during the day, and acting as a sacrificial cover in storms, protecting the tent from hooks and branches that could crack the second layer, which protects from the rain." This gorgeous cabin reminds us that cabins don't necessarily have to be of the angular, enclosed variety that we are most familiar with. In fact, they can be opened up to bring in light and fresh air, in order to establish a much more compelling relationship with nature – one that improves our sense of well-being, and may even good for the soul. To see more, visit Guillermo Acuña Arquitectos Asociados and on Instagram.