It takes some work to get to Ecuador's Quilotoa Lake. Visiting the collapsed volcano requires hiring a bus or truck to navigate the steep roads, and a hardy constitution to endure its 12,000-foot altitude. Now a simple yet elegant platform allows a moment of meditative respite on the precipitous edge of the electric blue caldera high in the Andes.
Architects Javier Mera, Jorge Andrade and Daniel Moreno collaborated on the structure, which was installed by the Ecuadorian government. Located about 100 miles outside of Quito, the site is managed by an indigenous community called the Shalalá who offer tours and other amenities to visitors at the space.
With its glass-fronted platform and two sets of steps that double as seating areas, the structure offers expansive panoramas but also is intimate enough to feel like a private amphitheater, where visitors get their own perfectly framed view of the inactive volcano. The high walls can act as barrier to the icy winds that whip through the mountains.
In addition to being drop-dead gorgeous, the overlook is designed to be light on the landscape. The steel cantilevered structure is covered in local teak wood and feels permanent, but the entire structure is modular—it can be taken apart and removed if needed, leaving the remote vista untouched once again. [Phaidon]
Photos by Lorena Darquea