Either of the two times during a year, one of them right today, the sun crosses the celestial equator and the length of day and night are approximately equal; and the Sun is closest to the Earth.If you are building a tropical home in a hot, rainy and humid weather like Costa Rica, this means that you really should prepare for intense heat over your roof! And your head!
In a tropical location, roof design is the responsible architectural element that will provide comfort and quality indoor environment. In the video below, you can see how a house in the mountains of Perez Zeledon is perfectly shaded during equinox, the hottest time of the year in Costa Rica.
This video is prepared by the program I generally use called Eco Tect,this is when I can double check what my common sense tells me when I am designing at any location. This case specifically needs direct natural light during the rainy season as, so the eaves width and house orientation is determined by such technology. The process feels more like playing with the roof measurements and angling spaces in order to satisfy 2 opposite weather conditions.
Feels good when you can help others to let go and build what they have always dreamed of. Here I am with the Perkins at Escaleras de Dominical, we have stacked their future tropical vacation home as we realize how important the trees are for shading the house. We can’t wait to get building started!
This is a simple 2 level house, first floor on concrete blocks, second level on wood, full of minimalist details that make tropical living easier: less mold, more natural breeze, less maintenance fees, more health due to exposition of rooms to the outdoors and lastly a higher quality of life. This is no american house in the tropics, this is a tropical modern architectural design adapted to Nature and local conditions.
How can you accomplish an original house design that stands out from the crowd and makes an excellent rental income all year long? Well, maybe you just want to have a one of a kind retirement home in Costa Rica….Creativity is the answer.
Now a days market gurus, entrepreneurs, CEOs and even scientists are learning from the creative process of experts involved in the areas of graphic design, architecture and arts. Creativity is now and have always been the tool for innovation, better sales results and better market positioning.
My experience as an architect, is that there is a vast universe of ideas floating in the quantum space. There are thousands of possibilities that are waiting to be developed. By being a little crazy daydreaming about a project as if there were no limitations followed by the making of prototypes and putting them to test ,the ideas that empathize better with the client’s needs come to life in a very surprising and mind blowing way. The design experience turns fun, exciting and contemporary with the needs of the times we are living today. Modern architecture in Costa Rica should be like this.
In this case, Amy and I are “playing” with the bedroom’s module location of this single family home. After much “internal debate” this architect has come up with a solid concept that allows the flexibility for the client to decide where is the natural and cost-effective placement of the bedrooms. We work together, we are a team. We exchange ideas and get to know each other through design and personal likes and needs.
This is a win-win situation. We both love the project and the universe smiles down at us. Happy start for this 2015.
After 6 months of construction , this is how the Singer’s residence looks like in Uvita, Costa Rica. This modern single family home follows a tropical house plan of 300 square meters at a cost of $1,150 ( a thousand one hundred and fifty american dollars) per square meter approximately so far. It has a primary structure of poured concrete, exterior concrete block walls and USG brand drywall interior walls. The project counts also with a pool that is 2,65 meters by 11 meters long and a 36 square meter garage on the back. Open views and cross ventilation everywhere are the major tropical features that clients approved to improve their idea of their retirement home in Costa Rica. We expect this house to be ready on march 2015. Modern architecture in Costa Rica and passive strategies are applied here, drop a line of you want to visit!
Most people reach me out with the intention of building beautiful contemporary homes, based on specific ideas they like and count with clear references of what they want: pictures from magazines, web, etc. In Costa Rica, most architects understand this style very well, but not most contractors. Including foreigners and locals. They see something different from the usual ( same old version of “neo colonnial” style ) and just like that they raise the price, due to their inexperience. Here is a proof of what happened in spite of having detailed renderings and blueprints.
Here’s an example. Anandakanda is a project that was rendered like this…
Tropical architecture in Santa Ana, Costa Rica
To be able to truly enjoy a terrace in the tropics where you can sit all day regardless of the day’s weather conditions (sunny or rainy), an expert like an architect can help you with the design’s orientation of your home or with choosing the right shade device.One easy way of making sure you are in the proper direction, is to check shades at the location at 3 pm in the afternoon ( warmest time during the day in most parts of Costa Rica)during equinox , summer and winter solstice. If the specific location gets enough shade during these times of the year, more likely you will get enough shade all year long. How can we do this? I personally use the EcoTect Program, a BIM Modeling system that is a great tool that allows me to design a specific overhang or shade device , horizontal or vertical, and explore and give my client different options that will also emphasize views and good ventilation .
Here’s the typical scenario: houses near the beach usually are oriented to south west or west to maximize ocean views also get a lot of heat coming in due to the orientation. Here’s three important ideas to create the perfect environment.
Step 1. In these situations it is extremely important to use a vertical shade device and extend the overhang up to 3,5 meters (depending on the width of the terrace) . When doing the landscape, choose trees with skinny trunk but that can grow tall.Picture2. Horizontal shading devices do not effectively shade this terrace.Check how the terrace has no shade at all.
Tropical House design with a sliding vertical shading device that effectively drops in the correct shadow angle on the terrace.Chontales de Osa, Costa Rica.