Next Time You’re in Patagonia, Stay Here
Double down on solitude at this private retreat in the valleys of the Torres del Paine.
For most of us, a trip to Patagonia would involve a tent. For the ambitious, a bivy on Cerro Torre. The wild landscapes just call for sleeping barely sheltered from the valleys and peaks of one of the most rugged, beautiful places in the world. And yet, the private, minimalist cabins of the Awasi Hotel, just outside the Torres del Paine National Park, offer a different way to experience the wilderness: one complete with hot tubs, fireplaces, and four sturdy walls to protect from notorious Patagonian winds.
Architect Felipe Assadi designed the cabins, nestled at the edge of a hilly forest of lenga beech, coigu evergreens, and ñirre trees, with care not to disrupt the aesthetics of the landscape. He scattered the living spaces and the common area to create less visual impact and lend visitors privacy and a sense of immersion reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous low-lying homes in the woods (or maybe just similar to, you know, your two-man tent).
The cabins are made of local lenga beech wood panels, sit on stilts to protect the fragile soil, and are framed in iron in keeping with traditional architecture from the region, particularly traditional ranching outposts and shelters. With sweeping views of the surrounding mountains and pampas, as well as Lake Sarmiento, the focus here is on the landscape and the people who have made a home of it for hundreds of years.
While Torres del Paine National Park is nothing like, say, Yosemite in the summer, it still hosts thousands of tourists from around the world on a daily basis. The cabins, on a private reserve, offer a chance to get away from anyone other than the people you came down here to explore with. The area is known for its large populations of guanaco, foxes, condors, pumas, and Darwin’s rheas, and the cabins–and the quiet–provide ample opportunity to see the wildlife.
Photos by Fernando Alda
Weekend Cabin isn’t necessarily about the weekend, or cabins. It’s about the longing for a sense of place, for shelter set in a landscape…for something that speaks to refuge and distance from the everyday. Nostalgic and wistful, it’s about how people create structure in ways to consider the earth and sky and their place in them. It’s not concerned with ownership or real estate, but what people build to fulfill their dreams of escape. The very time-shortened notion of “weekend” reminds that it’s a temporary respite.