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Mirador Shalalá - Quilotoa, Ecuador

JAG Studio

Close your eyes, take a deep breath and open them again.


A walk up the hill, some place where to rest along the way and then, finally, the destination: the view that opens up there is breathtaking. We are in the Ecuadorian Andes, on the edge of the Quilotoa volcano hosting, in its crater, a very particular turquoise lake. Here the architects Jorge Javier Andrade Benítez, Javier Mera Luna, Daniel Moreno Floreshave designed an observatory.

Such a beautiful landscape, one where the colors of the lake seem to be the perfect counterpoints to the low green vegetation typical of the hills while the wind blows almost matching the visitor's gaze, can be really astonishing. It almost doesn't matter which is your point of view. Or perhaps is does matter... and this little observatory looming over the landscape stands there to demonstrate this, and to offer a different experience to tourists and visitors.

The materials, steel for the inside structure and wood for the outer covering, have been chosen to not disturb the harmony of the place. Also the volumes are minimal. Two staggered observation planes, the two levels connected by a staircase that offers two different paces, the steps being wider on one side and shorter on the other. This small building leaning on the edge of the volcano well accommodates visitors when they observe and contemplate the landscape, which is exactly the reason why you would walk all the way up here.

The project was promoted by the Ministry of Tourism to support the tourism development project initiated by Shalala community that lives near the volcano and that takes care of the environment as well as of this little infrastructure.

People come on top, and everyone reacts differently to the view appearing there: the children's curiosity quick reactions are dissimilar from the more pondered meditation and slowness of elderly people. The short film shows us some of these various feelings. But for sure, all those who come to the top may return to their daily lives with these beautiful landscapes almost etched in their retinas.

Authors icon Credits

Architect: Jorge Javier Andrade Benítez, Javier Mera Luna, Daniel Moreno Flores
Mentioned project: Mirador Quilotoa (2014)
Project location: Zumbahua, Ecuador
Music: Johnny Ripper, theme 4

Ecuador 2014
Duration: 2'33''