A Funnel-Shaped Cabin Soaks Up Light, Sea Breezes, and Forest Views

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By Kate Reggev
Oriented towards the landscape, this modern home in Ecuador embraces stunning ocean and forest views.

Located along the coast in Ecuador's Manabí Province, Cabana Don Juan looks out over the ocean and the forest. Architect Emilio Lopez situated the home at the top of a hill to best take advantage of views, and its east-west orientation and funnel-like shape facilitate cooling cross-breezes. 

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The front and rear facades of Cabana Don Juan are made of glazed units framed in glass. The sides are made of fiber cement panels.

The front and rear facades of Cabana Don Juan are made of glazed units framed in glass. The sides are made of fiber cement panels.

The funnel forms on either side of the building come together at the middle, where a lofted area for bedrooms is located.

The funnel forms on either side of the building come together at the middle, where a lofted area for bedrooms is located.

At roughly 1,200 square feet, the home has as simple plan. Communal, public spaces are located on the ground floor, and two bedrooms lie on the second floor in a loft-like space.

The kitchen's open plan allows residents to look outside to the water while preparing a meal.

The kitchen's open plan allows residents to look outside to the water while preparing a meal.

The rooms on the ground floor include a dining room, kitchen, full bath, and living room whose double-height ceiling stretches up to the second floor along the ocean-facing facade.

The staircase at the rear of the home climbs up along the glass facade, allowing for elevated views of the forest.

The staircase at the rear of the home climbs up along the glass facade, allowing for elevated views of the forest.

At the rear of the residence, facing the deciduous forest, another double-height wall of windows provides continuous views as one ascends the staircase.

The floors, structure, window frames, and walls are all made of wood.

The floors, structure, window frames, and walls are all made of wood.

The stairs and the entire structure of the home are made of locally sourced amarillo (Yellowheart) and asta wood. The exterior consists of glazed window walls at the front and rear, and fiber cement panels along the sides.

The east and west facades are covered in glass, while the north and south facades have tall punched windows; both emphasize height and verticality.

The east and west facades are covered in glass, while the north and south facades have tall punched windows; both emphasize height and verticality.

The home’s furnishings lean toward simplicity, in large part because of the texture and warmth that comes from the walls lined in bamboo. The kitchen, for example, has wood cabinets, but the countertops are gray granite, continuing the neutral palette.

The home is simple in plan, but intriguing in form; its funnel shape not only emphasizes views and allows for cross-ventilation, but also helps shed water in inclement weather.

The home is simple in plan, but intriguing in form; its funnel shape not only emphasizes views and allows for cross-ventilation, but also helps shed water in inclement weather.

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The first floor is essentially an open plan—the bathroom is the only enclosed space. This allows for both cross-ventilation and views from one end of the home to the other, and to the horizon.

The first floor is essentially an open plan—the bathroom is the only enclosed space. This allows for both cross-ventilation and views from one end of the home to the other, and to the horizon.

A section shows how Cabana Don Juan emphasizes the double-height spaces on either side of the home. The two bedrooms are located in the central lofted portion.

A section shows how Cabana Don Juan emphasizes the double-height spaces on either side of the home. The two bedrooms are located in the central lofted portion.

Related Reading: Beach Breezes Blow Right Through This Ecuadorian House 

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: Emilio López 

Builder: Daniel Corti 

Structural Engineer: Patricio Cevallos