This tiny house sports a unique shape and open-plan interior to hang guests by the river!

Riverside Cabin is a tiny cabin with a unique shape and open-plan interior space to house visiting professors at Universidad Austral de Chile.

On the banks of the Calle-Calle River in Valdivia, Región de Los Ríos, architects Arce & Westermeier were commissioned to design and build a shelter to serve as a riverside retreat for a local teacher. Located near the Universidad Austral de Chile, the little house is called Riverside Cabin after its harmonic relationship with the Calle-Calle river. Overflowing from the natural treeline that stretches along the river’s edge, Riverside Cabin takes on an unconventional form that embraces the home’s surrounding landscape and ecosystems.

Designate: Arce & Westermeier

In the early stages of the design of Riverside Cabin, the architects of Arce & Westermeier asked: “What kind of relationship with the river do we want: a traditional relationship, which seeks that each enclosure in the program manages to with this unique geographical element? Or rather, the one who selects where and how this visual pleasure is obtained?

Realizing they would like to explore the latter, Arce & Westermeier came up with the unique look of Riverside Cabin. Tilting one end of the cabin skyward elongated the internal volume and gave the ceiling lofty heights to accommodate the two-level interior.

Inside the cabin, the ground floor houses a bathroom that stands to the side of a space where the dining, kitchen and living areas are combined. Then, ascending a few steps, residents of the cabin are greeted by the sleeping and study area which merges with a vast floor-to-ceiling curtain wall that wobbles along the edge of the river.

Dividing the cabin into two spaces, a wooden bulkhead doubles as the headboard and dining area seating arrangement. Maintaining an open layout for the interior space, architects Arce & Westermeier wanted the main living space to be flexible.

Noting the spatial relationship between the two levels, the architects of Arce & Westermeier note: “Thus, these different levels become both the living room and the dining table seats, in addition to functioning as a transitional space.

Riverside Cabin is constructed primarily from dark, pre-fabricated metal plates that shield Chile’s rainy weather while providing a sort of cape during the night. Unlike the dark exterior, the interior walls of Riverside Cabin are clad in plywood to provide a warm refuge from the outdoors.

At dark, the interior lights shine like a lantern in the night.

The main priority when building the Riverside Cabin was that it would blend in with the surrounding architecture, without detracting from the available views of the river.

The interior volume lifts to bring guests to the riverside and give the ceiling lofty heights.

Betty K. Park