When topography is tricky, architects need to work on a scale model!

When I was asked by John Kettlewell to design his house in Escazu, I started wondering what would be the best solution for his lot’s specific situation: get the best view and moving not too much earth. Not only for budget proposals but thinking about sustainability too.This scale model really helped me to figure it out. It is an old school technique that I believe every great architect may still use , despite the advanced technology available to us. I could almost feel and touch the shapes of the ground and was able to model them more accurately and more comfortable than with a 3d software!

Since Costa Rica is a country that emerged in the past as a volcanic mountain system you may find very interesting topography almost everywhere. Slopes and geomorphology generate microclimates and special places where it’s possible to locate a house and take advantage of the local weather. This is why it’s so important to first study the terrain and its shapes. Great opportunities for design are awaiting in those contour lines!

This 200 square meter three bedroom home will be built soon, right now I am doing some research about construction materials for exterior walls. Notice this ” boxy” architecture requires high quality durable materials since it has no eaves. I am thinking about zinc walls…but with no nails. I don’t want a single possibility for water leaks.

I’ll keep you posted!

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2 comments
  1. Larry Marin said:

    Zinc walls!! high cost but will last forever

    • Hi Larry! I am actually looking for a cost effective way in which I can get the look that I want. Zinc sheets are the most expensive material, it’s really appealing though. There are other options like the one mentioned on the article, it’s a ready made sandwich of metal sheets with zinc covering and insulation in the middle. Engineered metal sheets could work too. I’ll keep you posted!

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