A straw bale cabin | AATA Arquitectos

A straw bale cabin by AATA Arquitectos

This small cabin in a rural area of central Chile uses little energy and has a low carbon footprint. AATA Arquitectos designed the cabin, opting for a two level floor plan to minimize the site impact. The cabin takes the shape of a cube that is 5.4 m (17’9″) on each side.

The walls were wood-framed and then insulated on the outside with straw bales coated with mud. Straw bales are a readily available local material and provide a very high level of insulation. The straw bale walls were then covered with sheets of clear polycarbonate, accented by bands of corrugated zinc at the top and bottom. The transparent exterior surface is essentially a large-scale version of the “truth window” often installed in straw bale houses to show that they really are built from straw.

A straw bale cabin by AATA Arquitectos

The roof of the cabin is quite visible from the uphill portions of the property. To make the cabin more attractive from above, it was given a grass roof. (Note that the photos were taken before the green roof was in place.) The grass roof has the added benefit of adding to the roof’s insulation.

A straw bale cabin by AATA Arquitectos

The interior space is small but efficient. The lower floor has a three piece bathroom and a small but complete kitchen along one wall. A ladder leads up to the mezzanine loft. Both levels benefit from views through a double-height window wall. The window wall lets in abundant light and can be completely opened to the adjacent deck. Smaller windows on the other sides allow for effective cross-ventilation in summer. The interior walls and ceilings are painted white, offset by stained pine trim and plywood floors. White was chosen to reflect daylight throughout the space, reducing the need for artificial lighting.

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Images courtesy of AATA Arquitectos. Via ArchDaily.

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