The top priorities for Chalet M—a small, plywood cabin in the suburban area of São Lourenço da Serra in São Paulo, Brazil—were to ensure the lightest possible footprint on its forest site, and to maximize the experience of being one with nature for its owners.
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Located in a forested, countryside area near a lake and vegetable garden, the cabin was designed by São Paulo architect Silvia Acar as a simple space for sleeping, cooking, and reconnecting with nature. Raised upon six cylindrical, concrete columns sunk seven to 10 feet into the ground, the wooden cabin rests lightly on the terrain without disrupting the soil.
Because the site is remote and not easily accessible via existing roads or trails, Acar designed the components of the cabin to be lightweight enough to transported without the use of vehicles.
"Since access to the terrain is through nature, and we didn't want to open any streets from the road to the house, everything had to be light, in order to be carried out to the site by hand," says Acar. "In order to not destroy nature or any trees, the idea was to use no trucks, cranes, bulldozers, or other heavy machinery."
The 270-square-foot cabin was built with hardwood and corrugated steel sheets, and includes approximately 76 square feet of outdoor deck. Its Paricá plywood-clad interiors fit a bedroom, bathroom, and kitchenette.
The front wall of the cabin consists of four full-height, glazed windows, two of which can have panes that can be retracted upwards to open the interiors out to the deck and surrounding nature.
"My vision was for a cabin wrapped in light plywood inside, and a nature retreat that had the feel and scent of the woodlands around it," says Acar.
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Architect of Record: Silvia Acar Arquitetura
Builder: Engeark Construtora
Woodwork: Stalla Móveis