Raintree House

Overview

Ocean views and an authentic jungle experience merge
to create a sanctuary of contemporary design, crafted with natural local materials.

Our international clients came to Costa Rica with the intent of creating an example of a more sustainable way of life, with a focus on well-being through connections to nature.

“We wanted a home that felt like it had always been there, hugged by the canopy, dancing with the jungle.” – The client

Concept

From the very beginning, our common vision was to explore the possibility of blending the architecture with its jungle surrounding, keeping every single tree and adding to the habitat; while also capturing a framed view of the ocean and sunset. The framework for the design is based around a series of moments of contemplation, which balance the roughness of nature with the benefits of modern comfort.

Design

Within a clearing on the crest of a hill, we planted a strong foundation and an acrobatic structure so that the rest of the house could float over the jungle with no extra support. The main living areas as well as the master bedroom were placed on the second floor, where the experience of the jungle canopy is felt more intensely and also where the ocean and sunsets are captured through meticulously framed views.  A stair and circulation that is neither outside nor inside encourage the inhabitants to always be connected to nature as they meander around the house.

Sustainability

Bioclimatic principles guided the design of the house. A very large roof “umbrella” extends out very dramatically and encapsulates the entire living space, creating an ecosystem between the structure and the jungle. In a tropical setting, like this, designs need to adapt to strong rains during the green season and intense heat during the dry season. Water is captured and recycled for irrigation and reuse. Solar panels generate part of the energy of the house and materials are kept rough in order to withstand the tropical environment without constant maintenance. Overall ancient and local techniques are combined with technology to create a sustainable design that is both rooted in the past and looking to the future.

Construction

A strong concrete foundation base was created at the top of the hill asymmetrically allowing the main prefabricated steel elements to cantilever over the hill and above the jungle. Seismic-proof structural design borrowing industrial construction methods were reinvented to give a domestic warm touch, through the careful placement of materials and cladding.

The result of combining contemporary building techniques, for speed and durability, with local know-how creates a unique expression of architecture that marries a modern aesthetic with a local imprint of textures and craftsmanship. This allowed us to create a language of architecture that is honest and reflects a true distinct process of understanding local capabilities within international standards.

Interior Design

The integration of Saxe Architecture with Saxe Interiors allowed the team to collaborate on the precise choice of materials to create a sense of wholeness of design inspired by nature. Burnt wood, teak, hand-made hydraulic tiles, woven lamps, and many more bring a sense of local craft to the entire design. The house was designed with durability in mind as it will serve not only as the client’s home but also as a rental property.

Project Data

Location
Nosara, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Date of Completion
November 2022
Client
A+D
Area
750m2 approx.

Project Team

Architecture
Saxe Architecture
Interior Design
Saxe Interiors
Collaborators
Prodeyco, Guidi Estructurales, Dynamo, GreenGo
Photography
Kirsten Ellis
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