There was a cottage at the beginning and Casa Mirador at the very end

There was a cottage at the beginning and Casa Mirador at the very end

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The daring project of reconstruction and expansion of a formally inconspicuous cottage gave rise to an unexpectedly luxurious building, set in a dramatic landscape. Where one happy family survived the months of pandemic quarantines.

In the beginning there was a cottage. In its concept, it is a rather modest wooden building, otherwise quite traditional in layout, with an ordinary gable roof. Set, by our standards, in a somewhat wilder landscape of high mountains, steep slopes, jagged valleys, constant fog and rainforests. We are in Ecuador, where altitude and rainfall are not spared. The building with a usable area of ​​120 square meters did not stand out in any way in its original design, but it was good enough for the whole family to spend peaceful vacations together once in a while. Because otherwise, all four members of her family combined their work and employment with traveling around the world, and so their moments together became a festive rarity. Only the covid-19 pandemic changed that, which severely limited everyone's ability to travel abroad.

The extension is isolated from the outside environment by the luxury of heated and air-conditioned space, but not visually. (Photo: Jag Studio) The former not-so-comfortable cottage has become a full-fledged dwelling in which people can rest and work. Just live normally. (Photo: Jag Studio)You definitely won't feel the crowding and cramped city apartments and flats here. Nature is right outside the window, and the daily routine here has a natural character. (Photo: Jag Studio) The kitchen, living room and dining room maintain a connected and open style. The rooms in the original part of the wooden building are intended for privacy, here the family works together. (Photo: Jag Studio)

How to turn an ordinary cottage into a house with a view?

A well-traveled family with two daughters decided not to waste this time and wanted to spend it together again. Not in a cramped and crowded apartment in a drenched metropolis, but rather in the fresh air and in nature, i.e. traditionally in a cottage. But she was not completely eligible for a longer, unlimited stay. After all, it was just an ordinary cabin in the mountains. Therefore, its residents very dynamically decided to expand the standard format of the cottage in cooperation with the architects, and raise its habitability to a new, higher level. At the same time, the original wooden building, covered with a gable roof profile, kept the background of the living rooms, the old kitchen was reworked into an extended bathroom, the old bathroom became a new toilet... and they had a new kitchen with a dining room and a fantastic living room created on an area of ​​65 square meters . Where exactly?

Essentially on a hanging roofed terrace, supported by a structure on the slope and glued to the original volume of the wooden building. Something like a rough plan for such an expansion must have already existed before the corona crisis, because otherwise it is difficult to explain that the entire implementation was carried out in a matter of weeks, rather than months. And so basically the whole family gathered already in the "new" dwelling. Which no longer deserves to be called a cottage, but rather more sublimely, Casa Mirador. House with a view. The skill of the architects, the skills of the craftsmen and the fact that the extension could be supported by a prefabricated steel frame structure, which was created from individual modules assembled on site, naturally contributed to the speed of construction. The addition of the wooden parts was also without problems, and the only minor hitch was the transportation of the large glass infills to the construction site.

The central block, with its integrated fireplace and kitchen unit, is actually the only nested solid structure in the 65 square meter extension. (Photo: Jag Studio) Wood crackling in the fireplace cannot be missing for family comfort. Flickering flames warm, while outside the windows the gray fog turns to night. (Photo: Jag Studio)

A place for the family

However, minor complications pale in comparison to the character of the result. The extension really owes nothing to the lookout title: a transparent envelope of tempered/hardened glass surrounds the entire extension, thus opening the interior to breathtaking views. In the gorge below, the mountains covered with forests. The sealed outer envelope allows nature to almost touch itself, and the boundaries between interior and exterior dissolve into mist. Although visually the extension of the cottage expresses fragility, you don't have to worry about instability here. Durable anchoring elements settle the extended part into the slope, create an external skeleton with a triple system of metal parts, and run through the entire building from the foundation to the roof. The interior space is surprisingly free, except for the central form. It is an unlimited balcony, a living room with an endless view, a dining room without borders.

Various storage elements and shelving systems also try to preserve the airiness of the unbuilt space. It does not create a barrier, but rather a penetration in space. (Photo: Jag Studio) The connection of the old to the new is smooth, without a sharp break. Where the original cottage was, rooms remain for living. It is located behind a sliding door. (Photo: Jag Studio)Casa Mirador surprises with its workmanship and speed of construction. The architects mention that it took less than three months from plan to finalization of the project. (Photo: Jag Studio) The anxiety of not being able to go out will not bother you here. Nature gives the extension the harmony needed to strengthen family ties. (Photo: Jag Studio)

Also the old residential part of the wooden building received modifications: light pipes were added, as well as new underfloor heating. New storage spaces have also been created here behind the panel wall. And a septic tank with a wastewater treatment plant was added to the operational facilities. So that the natural beauty that is everywhere around does not suffer from the presence of people. It is difficult to estimate how the restriction of social contacts has affected other residents of Ecuador. But the residents of Casa Mirador certainly did not complain about them. They finally got to spend some time together as a family. And the high-quality work of the architects provided them with more than a pleasant background, which did not separate them from the surrounding nature with quarantines.

Materials: RAMA studio

Photo-credit: Jag Studio

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