I wish I was an architect so like David Guambo I could also build myself a cozy, wooden studio! The architecture student made Kusy Kawsay, a small hut-like housing that rests on stilts in hilly rural Ecuador with a straw roof and wood framing. Kusy Kawsay means ‘passionate life’ in Kichwa (a dialect of Quechua, a language used in the Andean region), and the tiny house reflects it wonderfully.
Guambo studies architecture at Universidad Tecnológica Indoamérica (UTI) in Ambato, Ecuador and like most students, he just wanted a space for him to do projects while listening to loud music – that is how this tiny studio was born! To build his dream focus pod, he worked under the guidance of Al Borde, a local architecture studio that successfully completed the renovation of a deteriorated 18th-century house (!) in Ecuador. The main purpose was to be able to play loud music without disturbing the neighbors so Guambo used a traditional construction method known as ‘Bahareque’, a building system that involves weaving sticks and mud to construct compact walls, to make it sound-proof. Even though the exterior reflects the traditional design technique, the full glass window gives it a modern touch.
The hut has a gabled roof that has been layered with grassy straw. The walls pack dried mud tightly between wood framing to make it sturdy. One of the most beautiful features is the whimsical triangular window in the front of the studio that allows plenty of sunlight in while giving you a view of the natural landscape. The crisscrossing wood beams turn it into a studio on stilts and there are cut-up wood logs form several rows of bench seating underneath the unit where passerby can sit in the shade for rest. The interiors are simple yet warm, the roof structure is exposed and the floors are covered with wooden planks. It is furnished with a minimal wooden desk that is aptly placed in front of the large window along with a chair, the set is crafted from leftover logs.
“I’m making a study room, with wood, with straw, and everyone made fun of me because I am constructing with a traditional system. This is because we don’t value what we have, they prefer to do foreign things, thinking that they will save money. But what I believe they don’t know is that you can reinterpret with the things we already have, to do new things, you have to change the mentality of people with this project that I’ve done,” says the resourceful, wise, young designer and we agree – good design doesn’t have to be expensive or hi-tech!
Designer: David Guambo