Sustainable design practice A-01 (A Company / A Foundation) has combined traditional tropical architecture elements with modern prefabrication to produce the No Footprint House, a contemporary and energy-efficient abode that boasts a minimal environmental footprint. Developed for mass production, the first No Footprint House prototype was installed last year in Ojochal, a small village at the edge of a tropical rainforest in Costa Rica. To keep cool in the region’s humid climate, the home relies on passive climate control strategies, from the double-layered facade with operable panels to the slanted solar shades.
Spanning an area of 108 square meters, the first No Footprint House prototype is the largest in the No Footprint House series, which also includes a “tiny” version at 36 square meters and a mid-size version at 81 square meters. All housing types can be customized with different finishes and layouts and will be available for purchase in 2020.
The No Footprint House in Ojochal was prefabricated in the Central Valley of Costa Rica based on a structural grid of 12 by 9 meters and comprises a combined living and dining area, two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a multifunctional terrace. The home was transported to its current location on a single truck bed.
Key to the design of the No Footprint House is the centrally located service core, which houses the utilities and machinery and thus groups together the bathrooms, kitchen and laundry area into the heart of the house. The compression of utilities into a centralized location opens up the rest of the steel-framed home to an open-plan layout. Glass sliders and “curtain walls” allow homeowners to reorganize the residence as they see fit.
“The NFH is designed to blend with its natural surroundings and minimize the impact of construction on the environment,” explained the design team, who used a natural materials palette with bamboo and wood and topped the building with a solar water heater. “It offers a wide range of adjustable, affordable and replicable solutions to cater for a broad customer segment. The project seeks for integral sustainability in terms of its environmental, economic, social and spatial performance.” Future building configurations will also offer off-grid capability.
Photography by Fernando Alda Fotografía / Fernando Alda via A-01