Modern Costa Rica architecture
Costa Rican ‘exoskeleton’ tropical retreat combines natural materials and industrial techniques.
Studio Saxe – known for creating tropical architecture that communes with its environment – has completed a family home in Junquillal, Costa Rica that elegantly combines modern methods of construction with local materials and techniques. Villa Saxo is defined by an exoskeleton pergola structure providing shade over large terraced areas, while also creating a frame for the local flora to grow around, which will eventually envelope the house in plant life and return it to the forest.
The Beaux family wanted a natural retreat that could become a home-away-from-home. After locating a site in their own personal paradise – surrounded by trees with views out to the ocean – they set about finding a Costa Rica architecture studio that could provide them with a contemporary house that rejects the sterile atmosphere created by overly-manicured climate controls. Studio Saxe was commissioned to design a house for rest, relaxation and meditation, bringing nature into the built environment.
The architects used a lightweight steel prefabrication system to create the main frames of the project and combined this with local and sustainable teak for interior and exterior cladding. The metal frames allowed for a very fast and precise construction, while the timber offers warm, natural tones that celebrate the material’s imperfections. This mixture of building methods, one new and one ancient, created the perfect opportunity for a contemporary tropical architecture that is balanced in the present and yet has roots in nature and the past. The form of the house frames views out to the forest and the ocean beyond, with large openings blurring the boundaries between inside and outside. The property is divided across two buildings, one large and the other small, that both follow a cohesive design language. The varying sizes of the houses are proof that the methods of construction can work successfully at different scales. Successfully modern Costa Rica architecture seamlessly blends cool, contemporary style with all of nature’s imperfections.
Architect Benjamin Garcia Saxe said:
“The architectural strategies give way to a simple relationship between the inhabitants and the natural world that surrounds them. Views are framed, shadows explored, and the movement of wind and colours create a soft palette of authentic experiences that shape and create an acute awareness of the natural in the inhabitants.”