Tiny House

Tiny House in the Andes offers comfort and remote working at extreme altitude

Arrachay tiny house - Javier Mera Luna, Ecuador

The Arrachay tiny house, located in the Andean Paramo of Ecuador, is a collaborative project between architects Javier Mera Luna, Lesly Villagrán, and María Beatriz Moncayo. The project was developed in response to the challenges of working from home during the pandemic, aiming to provide a comfortable and stylish workspace in a remote and breathtaking location at an altitude of around 4000 meters (13,000 feet) above sea level.

The extreme conditions of the Andean Paramo ecosystem presented unique challenges for the design and construction of Arrachay. The region experiences intense freezing temperatures, requiring the tiny house to be well insulated to retain heat. To address this, the architects collaborated with YES Innovation to develop BIOM, an innovative insulation material that utilizes the thermal properties of repurposed rice fibers from nearby communities, avoiding the use of petroleum-based materials and preventing these fibre from otherwise being burnt.
The tiny house was prefabricated in a nearby city, allowing the architects to meticulously optimize its features while considering practicality and transportation feasibility. It was constructed in two separate pieces and then transported over 100km to its final location in the Andean Paramo.

Inside, Arrachay features a compact wall-kitchen, a multi-purpose living zone, and a concealed powder room. The kitchen includes a folding countertop that doubles as a dining area or workstation, while the living area offers unobstructed views of the mountain forest through a large window. A ladder provides access to the upper level, which houses the master bedroom with ample space for a double bed and panoramic views of a pristine lagoon and the night sky. Additionally, an outdoor shower and bath are cleverly integrated into the natural surroundings, providing a refreshing bathing experience.

The practicality of using such tiny houses as everyday workspaces remains a topic of debate. While the construction of Arrachay may seem impractical for most workers, it stands as an innovative and visually stunning example of a tiny house that allows its inhabitants to live, work, and immerse themselves in the extraordinary beauty of the remote, high-altitude environment of the Andean Paramo in Ecuador.
Overall, the Arrachay project showcases a fusion of innovative design, sustainability, and functionality, offering a glimpse into the possibilities of creating comfortable living and working spaces in challenging and extreme natural settings.

Javier Mera Luna

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