Canopy Camp Darien by Diego Cambefort and Diana Bernal

Diana Bernal, Diego Cambefort,

© Fernando Alda,


holiday houses,

Darien is a province in the Republic of Panama, one of the places with the highest levels of biodiversity on the continent. Canopy Family asked architects Cambefort and Bernal to create a campground for birdwatching. The only imperative was zero environmental impact.

Canopy Camp Darien by Diego Cambefort and Diana Bernal

Diego Cambefort and Diana Bernal are two young architects from Panama who were commissioned by Canopy Family to build a campground in the province of Darien, an unviolated natural site consisting of marshes and woodland located close to a hydrogeological reserve. As in all of Central America, the level of biodiversity is very high, especially in terms of the variety of bird life; and so Canopy Camp Darien is designed primarily for birdwatching.

In birdwatching, like other forms of tourism in natural areas, it is imperative to minimise environmental impact. The architects and their clients wanted to create a campground that would not only meet the requirements of the regulations but serve as an example of ecotourism. To achieve this goal, they used a series of measures minimising built space. Large outdoor areas, natural ventilation and use of local materials, suspended structures minimising soil occupation, solar panels, rainwater collection systems and ecological septic fields are only a few examples. Cambefort and Bernal’s work demonstrates how quality architecture can be rational, respecting its context and being simple and humble when necessary.

Francesco Cibati

Location: Province of Darien, Republic of Panama
Year: 2014
Outdoor area: 745 sqm
Indoor area: 280 sqm
Cost: $400,000
Client: Canopy Family – http://www.canopytower.com/
Project: Diego J. Cambefort S.; Diana V. Bernal C.
Team: Frank Lee, Jaime Delgado, Gilberto Ayala, Carlos Salazar
Photos: Fernando Alda – http://www.fernandoalda.com/