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Room in the air – Urban Shelter by Rama Estudio

Room in the air - Urban Shelter by Rama Estudio

Name Office of Architecture: RAMA Estudio
E-mail contact office:

Architects authors of the work: Carolina Rodas – Felipe Donoso – Carla Chávez
Location (street, commune, city, country): Calle Ambato – Historic Center – Quito – Ecuador
Construction term: 2020
Constructed area: 18 m2
Photographer: Jag Studio

Other Participants:
RAMA Estudio
Project Team: Carolina Rodas, Carla Chávez, Felipe Donoso, Fernanda Ayala.
Visualizations: RAMA estudio

Main Suppliers:
-Ely Macay (Wood)
-López Metal Works (Metal Works)
-Ricardo Páez (Glass work)
-Jefferson Pérez (Electrical installations)


Sara, a microbiologist whose work focuses on COVID-19 research, needs an isolated space so as not to compromise the health of her family by having a high probability of contagion in these processes.

She lives with her family in a house on the southern slope of the historic center of Quito. An old construction that has been adapted to the activities of its users. The existing buildings make up a central courtyard with lush vegetation and a direct view to the center and north of the city. One of these constructions is a recently built glass and metal box that abstracts the characteristics of a solarium that previously existed and had to be overthrown.

Currently this glass box houses a ceramic workshop, one of Sara’s activities. This space is made up of lateral glass closures and a 4m x 5m slab which will be the site of the project.

The Commission

A space to sleep, study and work, with independent access and quickly built. A specific budget for the entire project, including furniture. Two beds, two desks and a hanging chair. The construction must be removable and not affect existing constructions.

The Idea

A “room / refuge” where the user can carry out all their activities safely and with excellent spatial conditions. A space armed through a simple, efficient, economical and fast construction system. In this, wood and glass will predominate. The modulation and transparency would have a language similar to the existing glass box and the space would open onto the patio and main view.

The dimensions of the room and its modulation would respond to the format of the wooden pieces for minimal waste.

The Project

A refuge in the center of the city, proposing a modular construction system in certified pine wood and metal accessories. A plywood deck, a balcony and a tiered module for access.

61cm wide shelf modules are designed, which form a bearing storage wall. Each module is made up of two vertical pine planks, separated by a series of pine plank shelves every 30cm. The difference in height of these two bearing walls, generate the fall of the roof and the opening of the view to the north of the city. The shelves of the modules move 3cm into the room, giving space to the outside for a metal frame made of 2x2cm tube, which holds the glass or polycarbonate that makes the transparent and translucent closures of the room.

The two walls support a series of beams of the same material, on which plywood panels are placed that coincide with the modulation of 61cm. This surface is waterproofed with an asphalt sheet for exteriors.

The front and rear closures are made up of two partitions subdivided into three modules. The north partition is sliding and each one of the panels moves independently to be able to open the facade completely towards the view. The closure of this screen, like the western side, is in transparent laminated glass to take advantage of the view and the afternoon light. The South screen is fixed, and like the eastern side, it is closed with white polycarbonate, giving privacy to the surrounding lots without losing the entry of light in the morning.

A balcony is proposed that extends the surface and flies over the patio, generating a visor towards one of the entrances of the glass box and a living space in the open air for the user of the room. This extension is unified to the main space when the partitions are open giving the perception of being in an open space. This balcony is also the upper end of the access steps, a mixed system of wood and metal, which generate the support for the planks that will be the steps. The dimensions of the stands and the balcony respond to the size of the pine plank pieces that “remain” from the bearing walls.

The furniture consists of 4 pieces outside the shelving walls. These 4 pieces were once again made of metal and wood. The user’s needs were a main bed of a square and a half together with a retractable single bed. Two desks for your studies and work, which are designed to be foldable to completely free up space for exercise routines or other activities.

The Result

A functional, cozy and safe space. Built in one month and within the user’s budget. An easily expandable, removable and transportable structure. A set of parts with low environmental impact and minimal waste.