Dreaming of a tropical Costa Rican getaway? The stunning Casa Flotanta by Benjamin Garcia Saxe will have you searching for flights and dreaming of monkeys, hammocks and the Pacific Ocean. Located in Puntarenas, this private home hovers on a steep site with commanding views of the ocean and surrounding jungle. Rather than dig into the hillside, Garcia Saxe came up with a plan to use prefab modules set on stilts to minimize impact and create a home that exists in harmony with its surroundings. Plus, it's earthquake-proof, makes use of locally-sourced teak and bamboo, and collects rainwater. There's more after the break.
Casa Flotanta is a two bedroom home built on a hillside overlooking the jungle near Puntarenas.
Initial designs for the vacation home considered digging into the steep slope and putting up retaining walls.
This was deemed too costly and not at all in harmony with the site, so the plan was changed to build modules that would then be placed on concrete piers and raised up above the canopy.
This also allowed the jungle to continue growing around the home, encouraged rainwater infiltration and minimized disruption.
"I think for me one of the most interesting aspects of this house is that seemingly we had a property which was impossible to build on where there was a view. By using creativity and complex engineering we made it financially viable to build to capture that great view, and thus made the project so much more special and valuable for the family and their investment," explains Benjamin Garcia Saxe in an email to Inhabitat.
"An impossible view as made possible by challenging the way traditionally houses are built on very steep slopes in that area."
The home's plan was designed to maximize views, daylight and natural breezes, while the modules themselves are constructed with galvanized steel frames to make them earthquake resistant.
Built below the site, the frames were skinned in teak harvested from a plantation nearby. Teak is also featured in the interior furniture along with locally harvested bamboo.
Rainwater is collected off the shed roofs while a solar heating system provides hot water and soon a PV system will be installed for electricity.
All the lights are high efficiency LED and there is no need for air conditioning as the home's design and natural breezes provide all the cooling.
Sun shading and natural ventilation strategies.
Design strategy that minimized impact on the environment and cost significantly less.
The home's module placement was designed around views, sun and the site.