Peek Inside This “Simple, Low Cost” Cabin in the Panama Forest
Of all the ways to become one with nature, a pretty straightforward path to convene with Mother Earth is by living in a forest. For some, it may sound like quite an outlandish proposal but this off-the-grid, open-air cabin in the mountains Panama makes the thought much more palatable.
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To bring the project known as Cabin 192 to fruition, architect Jose Isturaín of JIA enlisted the help of family members, friends, and area builders. The remote private residence sits above ground, hoisted up by a supporting system of pine columns with the purpose of minimizing environmental impact made to the building site and protecting the home against the humid tropical climate.
“When visiting the site for the first time, we noticed the large number of pine trees—a species not native to this region—and we understood that the site should be reforested with native species that would produce necessary shadows to improve environmental comfort,” Isturaín writes.
Located in Altos del María, a mountainous area in the country’s western region, Cabin 192 is comprised of three cabins and a main house, all made from reclaimed pine beams. Instead of prioritizing luxury, Isturaín insisted on keeping the project “simple and low-cost.”
JIA describes Cabin 192 as “a very personal project, that seeks to transmit the peace and tranquility that simplicity offers, an elementary architecture.”
The cabin has a 226 square-foot-ground floor and a slightly larger 387-square-foot upper level. The completely open ground floor houses a bedroom, bathroom, kitchenette, and seating area. The second level features floor-to-ceiling pallet windows to help with ventilation control, illuminate the space with tons of natural light and grant unobstructed views of the mountainous landscape. Additionally, the home’s roof is clad in a slanted metal mooring that helps to keep the space cool during the hot summer months.