These slender, stacked cabins by Santiago-based Croxatto & Opazo Arquitectos are shaped by a set of challenging constraints: a limited budget, steep slopes, and blustery coastal winds.
"It was an interesting exercise in how to propose good architecture with scarcity," says co-founder Felipe Croxatto. He and his partner, Nicolas Opazo, were commissioned by two young couples who sought to build neighboring, nature-focused holiday homes that could be rented out on Airbnb under the Maralto brand.
To minimize costs for the foundations, Croxatto and Opazo built upwards by strategically stacking a series of timber cubes to optimize ocean views and protect against strong winds. "Since the footprint is small, we created a double-height space to expand the interior and make the building feel bigger than it appears," notes Croxatto. "This strategy makes it look like a great tower looking out over sea."
One of the main challenges was getting materials to the steep hillside, which initially lacked road and utility access. In the beginning, the design team worked off-grid with a water tank and electric generator as they sourced three types of local timbers. "Matanzas produces wood, so it’s a very easy material to get at an affordable price," says Croxatto.
The architects built the structures and supportive pillars from pressure-treated, chamber-dried pine, which they selected for its durability in coastal climates. The buildings are clad with panels made from reclaimed oak railroad ties treated with petroleum oil for protection against corrosion.
The interior of each cabin is wrapped in light-colored pine treated with natural oil finishes. The layouts are also similar—each cabin has an open-plan living/dining/cooking space on the ground floor, with a lofted sleeping space above.
Shop the Look
Floor-to-ceiling windows, large glazed doors, and north-facing terraces connect each cabin to the spectacular site. All construction for the cabins—including utility and road access—was completed on-site in eight months.
"Every time the clients go to the Matanzas Maralto Cabins, they call to congratulate us on the great experience we created," says Croxatto. "We look back and remember all the challenges we overcame to achieve this result, and it makes us very happy."
Builder/General Contractor: Croxatto & Opazo Arquitectos
Landscape Design: Croxatto & Opazo Arquitectos
Structural Engineer: Luis Della Valles
Stay up to Date on the Latest in Tiny Homes
Discover small spaces filled with big ideas—from clever storage solutions to shape-shifting rooms.