This project is the first of several to be undertaken for a single client on the coast of the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica. Inheriting an abandoned steel frame and concrete slab structure, we were asked to develop 1800 sf of indoor/outdoor residence on a jungle mountainside overlooking the Golfo Dulce.
The primary criteria for this project were as follows: to be environmentally sensitive, technologically advanced, and modernist by design. The jungle wraps the house as the house wraps a piece of the jungle. The spectacular view out to the bay merges with the infinity pool. The flexible edges of the enclosed portion of the home provide a seamless flow from inside to out.
The house is entirely self-sufficient. Photovoltaic cells on the roof gather power from the sun, which is stored to run the few appliances and low-consumption lighting planned. Solar hot water panels provide domestic hot water.
Maximizing cross ventilation and providing efficient solar shading has eliminated the need for air conditioning in this year-round tropical climate. These technological features, architectural planning and sensitive detailing create an indigenous yet distinctly modern piece of architecture.
Structural steel and concrete provide the field upon which we composed pale natural quartzite, man-made quartz, several species of local wood, and refined stainless steel elements. We were intentionally mindful of working with a cool, light palette to counterbalance the year-round heat and humidity of this environment while also including the warmth and tactility of wood, which was certified, re-claimed and/or collected from the property during an earlier clearing.
Perforated stainless steel screens and operable louver partitions provide a layering of space to add an additional dimension of privacy, transparency, shade, and shadow. The existing concrete slabs, where left exposed, were resurfaced – textured with aggregate on the ground level and finely polished above.
Location: Cabo Matapalo, Costa Rica
Architect: SPG Architects
Surface area: 18000 sfqm
Project year: 2009