When it comes to wood, a sustainable alternative is to work with plantation species such as ” Guayavillo” or Myrcianthes fragans. A layer of Laro Max ( water based impregnant) every 8 months is necesary to keep wood free of termites. No polyurethane finishes are recommended in this side of the world. Wood needs to constantly absorb the protective layer. The Perkins project is 50% built. Dont miss our on site pet! ( lower left corner)
Option 1 White Tpo fascia
Option 2 copper fascia
Option 3 aged aluminum fascia
So in the tropics, you must be cautious with the aesthetics you want for your project. As my clients Oumi and Urs from Switzerland said, “we are not in Ibiza, we are in Costa Rica” .That means that you may want to select materials that are low maintenance and colors that blend with Nature. Of course we all loved the first option but it is up to the client to decide which strategies benefit both their pockets and needs. I will provide all the elevations options and will guide you to take the decision that best suits you. Read More
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.
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.
For those of you wanting to build a small size vacation home, small apartments or cottages and bungalows, there’s some innovative ideas that I have applied to some projects, with great results and I’d like to share.
Let’s take the typical ‘beach or mountain cottage’ as an example. This would be a smaller detached home with approximately 1000 living sq ft ( 120 sm/ 1291 sft, 2 to 3 bedrooms, living room, kitchen, 1 or 2 levels) on a budget of 60k to 70k (good quality construction) in a beach or mountain
When creating your dream ‘cottage’, one can accomplish staying within budget, aesthetics, and functionality by using new life style concepts, new materials and new thinking overall. If you take ‘change’ as part of life and can deal with a few, you’ll be good to go. My philosophy is that ‘the river is not the same river, it changes with every second that passes by’, and I like to apply that to my designs. I have accomplished the ‘tropical living’ in many designs and have stayed within budget by incorporating some, or all, of these ideas and construction materials in the tropics:
1. Roof as envelope.
In Costa Rica, due to it’s geographical location, a home’s roof is in charge of reflecting the sunlight back to the atmosphere, protecting the interior from rain and providing insulation. So here’s an idea: use the ‘envelope roof design’, which looks like an open envelope with the living space inside. Here are some examples of houses built like that in Europe, Brazil and one of my designs in Costa Rica.
Right orientation of a structure in Costa Rica can be tricky. There are 10 basic types of ¨local climates¨ all over the country which result in a huge variety of different microclimates.Flora and fauna biodiversity are blessed with these conditions, and one of the main objectives of tropical modern architecture is to design with nature, adapting designs to local weather. Not adapting the weather to a house. This can probably be the main reason for construction materials not being as durable as we thought so.
Example of site analysis combined with microclimate analysis.
Why bigger isn’t always better?
Many people like you, who want an affordable home in the tropics, have asked questions about concrete walls but also wonder about drywall systems…are they safe? Are they strong enough to resist high impact loads, rain, sun and moisture?
Let me tell you that the answer is yes: the use of drywalls with plasterboards or fiber cement boards as internal and sometimes external walls, is gaining popularity among private residential projects. If used correctly it can provide a risk free solid construction.
Lamina verde installed on exterior ceilings