Mirrored cabins look beautiful because they blend into the landscape naturally. However, the biggest problem mirrored cabins have is that they confuse birds and cause many accidents resulting in bird deaths. A mirror can be psychologically damaging to a bird because it cannot perceive reflection and confuses it with reality so it might try to fly through the mirror or attack its own reflection thinking it’s another bird. Keeping this in mind, Prashant Ashoka who designed Casa Etérea’s made sure that this modern cabin will not be detrimental to birds that live in areas surrounding the dormant Palo Huérfano volcano in central Mexico. Apart from birds, the reflective structure is also self-sustaining and environmentally friendly!
Nestled just 20 minutes from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Casa Etérea provides breathtaking views of the volcanic and starry landscape. “The vision was to create a theatre to nature, so sustainability was crucial in achieving a truly complete integration with the environment,” explains Ashoka. Not only does the glass and mirror exterior reflect the hillsides and mesquite trees, but a special patterned, ultraviolet coating allows birds to see it as a structure that eliminates the risk of impact. The off-the-grid cabin can host two people comfortably within the 75-square-meter space. It is 100% powered by solar panels and includes all amenities for a comfortable stay like a king-sized bed, a luxurious living space, a kitchen and laundry facilities. Casa Etérea includes a water harvesting system that collects and reuses rainwater for daily activities and is enough to fill the striking copper bathtub perched next to the bed. Ashoka chose natural materials like jute, leather, wood, and stone to align the interior aesthetic with the scenic setting of the cabin while keeping sustainability at its core.
To ensure minimal site impact, the entire foundation was formed from rocks collected from the surrounding mountain. Casa Etérea is positioned in a way that allows for effective ventilation and the insulating glass regulates temperature control – it is highly energy-efficient without sacrificing the panoramic views from the floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors. You can open the cabin to the outdoors and step directly onto the patio or enjoy the pool area olive and pomegranate trees provide natural shade. Ashoka also wanted to engage the local community meaningfully so guests at the cabin will be connected with local providers for activities like horseback riding, guided hikes, and ATV tours. The name Etérea translates from Spanish to ethereal, and the cabin’s design embodies the art, beauty and connection to the natural environment in every element that holds it up.
Designer: Prashant Ashoka