ZEN RETREAT HOME
This residence, located in the Peninsula Papagayo luxury resort in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, was penned by its owner to have an "Earthy Contemporary" architectural style. The home was designed in a lot overlooking the sixteenth hole of the Four Seasons Arnold Palmer Signature Golf Course. The design was thought to maximize the view to the golf course fairway down below, and to also take advantage of multiple existing trees around the home and give the home an exotic tree house feeling. We used a combination of large glazed surfaces for transparency, exposed steel structure, with wood and natural stone accents, to achieve a modern design with a natural feeling.
The design allows for enjoyment of living and enjoy outdoor areas. The orientation of the house and the arrangement of the volumes was designed to provide natural shading from the afternoon sun, provided by the mass of the master bedroom structure above. The outdoor spaces remain fresh and breezy every afternoon, as they are never hit by the blazing afternoon sun.
The central social area consists of a double height space with tall windows of more than 6 meters high. In a similar fashion, the completely glazed social area is protected from the sun by the mass of the second floor bedrooms, helping to keep energy costs down by reducing to a minimum the solar gain in these glazed areas. This living space is therefore only exposed to the morning sun coming from the east, but the topography going uphill to the east combined with dense trees that were maintained on that side of the property provide natural shading as well.
The main level has social spaces both indoor and outdoor, that manages to stay cool and shaded at any time of day. This area is connected by a wooden cantilevered deck which surrounds the main social space, and also connects with the separate guest master bedroom.
The lot had an interesting topography with an elevated bluff higher than the road access where we located the main social structure, and then it sharply drops towards the golf course. We took these natural conditions and adapted to house by creating a steel structure raised above ground. The whole house is supported on the large stone-clad columns, so that minimal earthwork was done to build the home. This strategy of the design and construction is environmentally friendly by doing minimal alteration to the natural land conditions.
The south end of the house consists of a three-levels structure, where the master bedroom is on the upper level. This was designed with as much glass as possible, achieving a spectacular tree house feeling around the treetops and view of the golf course below.