Dezeen Magazine

Le Festival des Cabanes' Patagonian Shadow Cabin

Oversized red roof shelters Patagonian Shadow Cabin in France

An oversized roof and wooden structure define this pavilion by Chilean studio DRAA, which aims to bring "a piece of Patagonian shade" to Le Festival des Cabanes in France.

Aptly named Patagonian Shadow Cabin, the pavilion is designed by DRAA architects Nicolas del Rio and Felipe Camus to offer individuals a shaded space to enjoy views of a nearby lake.

Interior of Patagonian Shadow Cabin
DRAA has designed Patagonian Shadow Cabin

According to the duo, the structure takes cues from buildings in the region of Patagonia in South America – specifically those with "simple, seemingly useless roof structures".

Instead of covering the top of a building and protecting it against the weather, these roof structures are used to provide shade and serve as signposts or indicate property.

Pavilion with oversized roof
The pavilion is informed by Patagonian architecture

"Apparently useless or at best over-designed single roof structures become milestones, indicate ownership or road signs," said DRAA.

"Many times, they cover nothing, they just provide shade," it continued. "While directing the view towards the alpine landscapes, our wish is to offer a piece of Patagonian shade."

View up to Patagonian Shadow Cabin
It has a wooden structure with an oversized roof

Patagonian Shadow Cabin was designed for Le Festival des Cabanes, an annual event in Annecy also known as The Cabin Festival, which presents a series of competition-winning wooden pavilions.

It comprises a wooden structure sheltered by an oversized red-vinyl roof and is designed to be occupied by one person at a time.

DRAA-designed pavilion in France
It was created for Le Festival des Cabanes

Patagonian Shadow Cabin's structure is formed of a pod-like shelter that rests on an off-centre pillar, which is supported by buttresses.

DRAA said this design is intended to create the illusion that the pavilion is "resting" on the landscape and avoids the need for four support columns.

Patagonian Shadow Cabin at Le Festival des Cabanes
Patagonian Shadow Cabin rests on an off-centre column

The use of wood for the structure is also a reference to buildings in Patagonia, such as those developed by European settlers who travelled there in the 19th century.

"North Patagonia was developed mainly by German settlers at the end of the 19th century, who found nothing but timber to build their structures in central European style," DRAA told Dezeen.

Pavilion with red-vinyl roof
It is designed for one person to use at a time

"In the nearby island of Chiloe, they found skilled carpenters who had been building their particular ships and Jesuit churches entirely out of wood, with elaborate timber joinery," added the studio.

"Both groups benefited from their previous backgrounds and came to be a school of carpentry that built many structures in this fashion."

Approximately 13 cabins are displayed at Le Festival des Cabanes each year, after being selected through a competition process.

The contest is open to qualified architects and aims to explore the relationship between architecture and nature. Each winning structure is made from wood found in the surrounding forests.

Close up of red rooftop vinyl material
Patagonian Shadow Cabin's roof is formed of red vinyl

DRAA is an architectural studio founded by del Rio in 2012 in Santiago, Chile. Its other recent projects include an A-frame house designed for a Chilean ski resort and a charred timber cabin in Chile that is raised over a mountainous hillside.

Other pavilions recently featured on Dezeen include the 12-metre-high Wedding Cake by Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos and another made from mycelium at Glastonbury festival 2023 by set designer Simon Carroll.

The photography is by Felipe Camus.