Twin Chilean cabins win Best Retreat: Wallpaper* Design Awards 2021

Cabañas Maralto, a duo of holiday cabins in Chile designed by Croxatto & Opazo, scoop a Wallpaper* Design Award 2021

best retreat wallpaper cabanas chile
(Image credit: Cristobal Palma)

Chile’s Pacific coastline – a 6,435 km stretch of rock formations, sandy beaches, lush green forests and coastal communities – is about as close to wild nature as you can get. And so it made perfect sense that, for this pair of holiday homes in Navidad, Santiagobased studio Croxatto & Opazo looked to the region’s rich, natural context and character for inspiration. The two buildings are sited approximately 80m above sea level, on steeply angled terrain, overlooking the beach below.

Each structure features a main living space – kitchen, dining and sitting areas – that looks out through carefully framed, large expanses of glass, to far-reaching seascape views (sea lions frequent these parts, and they are often seen from the cabins). A ladder leads up to a bedroom, and each structure has a north-facing terrace, which, with its overhang, helps to protect the structure from rain, harsh sun and strong winds.


The main frame is made of pine, treated and dried for durability, while the exterior cladding is formed from treated, reclaimed oak sleepers and the interior features recycled pine board. Local labour and materials were used in the construction, insulation was carefully planned to preserve heat when it’s cold, and solar-powered outdoor lighting helps reduce overall energy consumption.

Drawing on the natural landscape, these twin cabins offer a dreamy escape, but are also humble, respectful and functional. ‘We were looking for a way to both “dominate” the steep slope, and blend in with the surrounding nature,’ say the architects, who named the structures La Loica and La Tagua, a nod to the two bird species that are local to the region.

wallpaper cabanas chile close up

(Image credit: Cristobal Palma)

wallpaper cabanas chile interior

(Image credit: Cristobal Palma)


Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).

With contributions from