La Dacha Mountain Refuge built from blackened wood in Chilean Andes
La Dacha Mountain Refuge by DRAA

La Dacha Mountain Refuge built from blackened wood in Chilean Andes

Chilean studio DRAA has created a tall, V-shaped cabin with exterior walls wrapped in charred wood and large windows that provide expansive views of the rugged terrain.

La Dacha Mountain Refuge is located in Las Trancas, a ski town within Nevados de Chillan – a mountainous area that features several active stratovolcanoes.

La Dacha Mountain Refuge by DRAA

Perched on a gently sloping site, the multi-storey cabin is designed to be highly efficient and to offer views of the scenery, according to DRAA (Del Rio Arquitectos Asociados), which is based in Santiago.

La Dacha Mountain Refuge by DRAA

"Located among native woodland overlooking the impressive Nevados de Chillan volcanic complex, La Dacha Mountain Refuge is the result of a site-specific design that combines space programming with high-thermal efficiency," the studio said in a project description.

La Dacha Mountain Refuge by DRAA

Roughly V-shaped in plan, the 140-square-metre cabin rises up from a half-hectare site studded with trees. The building is oriented in a way that capitalises on the path of the sun, while a highly insulated perimeter and a thermally massive core help reduce energy usage.

La Dacha Mountain Refuge by DRAA

The cabin's exterior walls are clad in pine planks that are charred using the Japanese technique of shou sugi ban. Burning the wood helps increase its resistance to insects and decay.

La Dacha Mountain Refuge by DRAA

Behind the timber cladding are structural insulated panels, or SIPs, which were assembled on-site during the warm months. Generous windows, particularly on the north and west, bring in ample light and offer framed views of the wooded terrain.

La Dacha Mountain Refuge by DRAA

"La Dacha follows passive-design principles in a concentrated, vertical and highly insulated refuge that mingles among a pristine mountain landscape," the team said.

La Dacha Mountain Refuge by DRAA

Public zones were situated in the upper levels, while private areas were placed below. The main entrance is located on the middle floor, which is accessed via a wood bridge.

The middle level features a wood-burning masonry stove – called a kachelofen – that stores heat in its thick walls. A single load of wood can generate a significant amount of warmth throughout the day.

La Dacha Mountain Refuge by DRAA

"This ancient technique, common in central Europe, becomes a prototype for southern Chile, where wood consumption and pollution are becoming crucial issues," the team said.

Inside, earthly materials such as stone and wood give the cabin a rustic atmosphere. Walls are wrapped in warm-toned lingue wood, which is native to the region.

La Dacha Mountain Refuge by DRAA

Other dwellings in Chile include Casa R, a pointy black cabin designed by Chilean architect Felipe Lagos for his family, and Casa La Roja, a bright red house in a verdant, mountainous zone near the Argentina border.

Photography is by Nico Saieh (autumn shots) and Felipe Camus (winter shots).

Project credits:

Architect: Del Rio Arquitectos Asociados (DRAA)
Lead designers: Nicolas del Rio, Felipe Camus
Collaborators: Elsa Thevenaut, Magdalena Besomi
Builder: Ideamadera
Masonry stove: Nicolas del Rio, Alex Chernov
SIPs: Ingepanel

More images and plans

La Dacha Mountain Refuge by DRAA
Level one floor plan
La Dacha Mountain Refuge by DRAA
Level two floor plan
La Dacha Mountain Refuge by DRAA
Level three floor plan
La Dacha Mountain Refuge by DRAA
Loft floor plan
La Dacha Mountain Refuge by DRAA
Roof plan
La Dacha Mountain Refuge by DRAA
Floor plans
La Dacha Mountain Refuge by DRAA
Site plan
La Dacha Mountain Refuge by DRAA
Section plan
La Dacha Mountain Refuge by DRAA
Section plan
La Dacha Mountain Refuge by DRAA
La Dacha Mountain Refuge by DRAA
La Dacha Mountain Refuge by DRAA
La Dacha Mountain Refuge by DRAA
La Dacha Mountain Refuge by DRAA
La Dacha Mountain Refuge by DRAA
La Dacha Mountain Refuge by DRAA
La Dacha Mountain Refuge by DRAA
La Dacha Mountain Refuge by DRAA