Nestled amidst remote forests in the Andes foothills, La Dacha is a retreat in every sense of the word. Here, guests are welcomed to a blissful immersion in nature as well as award-winning architecture, courtesy of Chilean architect and owner Nicolas Del Rio of DRAA, who fused Alpine and Andean influences into this modern take on a rural chalet.
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Most importantly, the site-specific cabin has been built with minimal disruption to its pristine environment. Slotted between ancient oaks and frost-bound lava rocks, La Dacha follows the natural topography as well as passive design principles.
For ease of construction and high thermal efficiency, Nicolas constructed the roughly 1,500-square-foot cabin with SIPs—structural insulated panels—and blackened pine cladding, which was charred at the site using the Japanese technique of Shou Sugi Ban for natural protection against decay and rot.
Natural timber also covers the interiors, which are lined in native Lingue wood and minimally dressed in an eclectic mix of modern and traditional furnishings selected by Nicolas and his wife during their travels.
Primed for family getaways, La Dacha sleeps up to eight with three bedrooms and two baths across three floors. The open-plan living room, dining area, and kitchen are located on the second level.
When asked about his favorite part of the retreat, Nicolas responds: "By far, I think it’s the surprise effect once you are in it. You don’t expect what you are going to see—something happens the minute you step in and look out at the volcanoes. It makes you want to stay and take it all in."
"It’s the way the views are framed, the dissipation of light and the fact that you are at the canopy level. You feel a calming sense of absolute solitude as you are surrounded by native woodland, mountains, snow, and volcanoes."