Within the wilds of the Costa Rican rain forest on the Osa Peninsula sits Casa Torcida, a beautiful modern home designed by SPG Architects. Although its footprint is large in terms of square footage, it is surprisingly light on the environment and is able to run completely off-grid thanks to a solar system on the roof and a micro-hydropower system located nearby. The owner's criteria for the home required that above all the home must be environmentally sensitive, technologically advanced and modernist by design. From the looks of it, it appears that the owners got what they wanted.
When SPG Architects took the job they set to work transforming an abandoned construction site into an elegant steel-framed concrete slab structure, which they used to create the masterpiece that is Casa Torcida. With 18,000 square feett of indoor and outdoor living space, this large home certainly couldn’t be considered to have a small footprint — but the size of the home is tempered by the project’s many green building strategies. Most notably, the home is totally net-zero and features a large pv system on the roof that supplies the majority of its year-round power needs. During the rainy season a micro-hydropower system in a nearby stream supplements the power.
The home is five stories tall and includes an infinity pool, views of the ocean and the Golfo Dulce starting on level two, and it has a yoga deck on the roof alongside the PV system. Located on a 100-acre piece of property on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica, the home is surrounded with rain-forest that is teeming with wildlife.
A 75,000-gallon rainwater collection system provides for all of the home’s potable and non-potable water needs. Water is collected on the roof, which is coated in a non-toxic epoxy ceramic that helps keep the home cool under the hot tropical sun. All of the domestic hot water is provided from a solar hot water heating system located alongside the photovoltaics on the roof.
The home was built according to solar passive design principles, which minimize solar heat gain on the house and maximize natural ventilation. The efficient solar shading and ventilation systems have completely eliminated the need for air conditioning despite the tropical heat. The home’s materials consist of concrete, steel, man-made quarts and local wood found on the property. Appliances were selected based on their energy efficiency, which further minimizes the home’s energy demand.