The house is located within a 70 hectare property, it took over a year to select the ideal location to build a house with minimal environmental impact. For several months we carefully explored the property, with the goal of understanding its topography, wildlife, microclimates and ocean views. The property is very dynamic. The back of it has many hills, the highest being about 40m high with a lush forest where you can find several legacy trees that are over 100 years old along with incredible ocean views. The property has a tributary river and a coconut forest that is inhabited by howler monkeys, deer, and ocelots and jaguarundi amongst others. The lower part of the property, closer to the ocean, had been used as cow pasture for many generations and it was covered by brush and small bushes, which made it impossible to find any decent spots to build a house. Clearing the brush was a very difficult task that took a crew of 12 people 4 months, and another 4 months of additional more detailed clearing along the most southern part. Great care had to be taken into account in order to not damage any trees or wildlife living underneath the brush. Once the cleanup was completed we discovered 3 potential spots and the best one had the following qualities: Land already disturbed, great views into forest and ocean, away from forest conservation zone, and with good soil for construction. In other words we had finally found a perfect zero impact lot - where our work would yield a net positive impact through site restoration and development. Equally important the selected site had an incredible view to the ocean and toward the majestic palm grove adjacent.
The house accommodates a total of 12-18 people. The various components of the program are organized around a central patio, in order to incorporate natural cooling through cross ventilation, day lighting, and create a central space for guests to congregate. The patio frames views to the ocean, to the forest and to the other spaces within the house. By design, the views from anyone point within the patio are beyond the house, to its context, the ocean or the forest. The volume of the main house is stacked around the central patio, creating some much needed shade for the central spaces while offering unique birds eye views from the bedrooms toward the ocean and to the forest. The perimeter of the patio has an arched arcade that provides shade along the corridors and a fountain in its center, where people congregate and become engaged with a variety of birds that come to the fountain.
MATERIALS AND SITE INTEGRATION
The design incorporates vernacular materials and elements with a modern approach. The palette consists of regionally available materials, the colors and textures all selected with the intention of being in harmony with the context. The concept of integrating the design with the site is realized through the creation of functional indoor and outdoor rooms, by pulling gardens into the interior of the house, and also by having separate pavilions for the remote guest rooms in order to activate the entire property while minimizing the overall building footprint. The design of gardens in and around the house embrace tropical colors, playfulness, and brings vibrancy to the project. Each facade was designed to maintain clear proportions and relationships between plan and section. The house is raised from the ground and has long pergolas with bougainvillea vines around to minimize the amount of heat gain onto the walls. The resulting design has slim, clean profiles that are visually balanced from all vantage points. The structural design was made as efficient as possible, taking advantage of the material properties of the lightweight teak roof structures, concrete for the slabs, through the use of local materials to create spaces that are lighter, more open and modern.