Architecture is more than creating a sound building. It’s a craft that couples personal style and visual appeal with goals for the space. In the case of the Garden House, a project located in Playa Tamarindo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica, it’s a family home that meets the challenges of immersing into the surrounding landscape while maintaining a low carbon footprint.
Garden House is more than shelter, although it is built to provide shelter for everyday life and in the case of natural disasters. It’s an example of how a structure can sync with nature. To start, architects built the home on stilts for a minimal site impact and to allow for a green space on the ground floor. The design takes into account rising sea levels and the potential for future flooding.
Costa Rica is world-renowned for taking progressive action in the fight against climate change. With that in mind, the Garden House took the lead on creating an energy-efficient space through the use of high-efficiency double glass sliding doors and windows that allow in copious natural light while helping to moderate temperatures indoors. They also promote natural ventilation and eliminate the line between indoor and outdoor worlds.
Also, the water from the AC is captured and reused, along with rainwater harvesting that is filtered and used for irrigation. Water shortages in Costa Rica and across the globe inspired the designers to use high-efficiency faucets and toilets. This eco-friendly water supply supports the many surrounding gardens, which double as a privacy barrier and natural shade. The design hopes to set an example for the potential of “food production wall systems,” where even small homes can provide their own food.
While the design may start from the ground up, even the roof works in conjunction with the other sustainable elements. The architects say, “The roof bends like a leaf to provide proper shade for the house and water drainage slope while capturing the sun’s energy for the use of the Garden House.” This is done through the use of solar panels.
Images via Andres Garcia Lachner