Venezuela's Eco Cabanas

written by:
August 18, 2009

An architectural idealist, Kristofer Nonn answered an online job posting for an ecological builder in Venezuela. The result of his short tenure in the country is two elegantly simple housing shelters.

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  Two housing models perch lightly in a field, both featuring gently curved, rainwater-catching butterfly roofloines.
    Two housing models perch lightly in a field, both featuring gently curved, rainwater-catching butterfly roofloines.
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  Most of the dwellings in the town of Santa Elena are made with corrugated metal and dirt shacks, and are often plagued with mold.
    Most of the dwellings in the town of Santa Elena are made with corrugated metal and dirt shacks, and are often plagued with mold.
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  Nonn and Martin designed models that were simple and straightforward, with passive strategies for ventilation and cooling. These drawings can be used to build more shelters in the architects' absence.
    Nonn and Martin designed models that were simple and straightforward, with passive strategies for ventilation and cooling. These drawings can be used to build more shelters in the architects' absence.
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  The foundations of the Eco Cabanas are simple, rectangular elevated platforms.
    The foundations of the Eco Cabanas are simple, rectangular elevated platforms.
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  Zinc corrugated roofing was used to cover the shelters, providing shade and preventing rain from collecting and causing structural deterioration.
    Zinc corrugated roofing was used to cover the shelters, providing shade and preventing rain from collecting and causing structural deterioration.
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  Drawings of the Windcatcher demonstrate the criss-crossing roofline and the alignment of the main shelter components.
    Drawings of the Windcatcher demonstrate the criss-crossing roofline and the alignment of the main shelter components.
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  A sideview of the cabana shows off the most artistic facet of the design, where recycled bottles are embedded in the wall.
    A sideview of the cabana shows off the most artistic facet of the design, where recycled bottles are embedded in the wall.
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  Nonn and Martin collected bottles from the roadside for use in the walls. The bottles let colored light filter into the cabana, and passing breezes create sound effects on the mouths of the bottles.
    Nonn and Martin collected bottles from the roadside for use in the walls. The bottles let colored light filter into the cabana, and passing breezes create sound effects on the mouths of the bottles.
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  The interior of the cabana is relatively tight but with the sides open, the space feels breezy. Built-in shelving makes storage easier, leaving room for beds, chairs and tables.
    The interior of the cabana is relatively tight but with the sides open, the space feels breezy. Built-in shelving makes storage easier, leaving room for beds, chairs and tables.
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  Nonn and Martin hope that locals who have been living in the corrugated metal shacks typical of the area will take some inspiration from their designs, and be able to improve their accommodations with local materials.
    Nonn and Martin hope that locals who have been living in the corrugated metal shacks typical of the area will take some inspiration from their designs, and be able to improve their accommodations with local materials.
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  A site plan for the Peace Villages shows the placement of the cabanas and various other amenities and community areas.
    A site plan for the Peace Villages shows the placement of the cabanas and various other amenities and community areas.
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  Before leaving Venezuela, Nonn and Martin drew up a proposed plan for the future of the area, with more buildings designed to be sustainable for both the local ecology and the people who will live in them.
    Before leaving Venezuela, Nonn and Martin drew up a proposed plan for the future of the area, with more buildings designed to be sustainable for both the local ecology and the people who will live in them.
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  The first two cabanas to be built in Santa Elena will always stand as points of reference in projects the locals undertake in the future.
    The first two cabanas to be built in Santa Elena will always stand as points of reference in projects the locals undertake in the future.

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