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Set in the rainforest of Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, two modern homes project out of the landscape and are defined by a series of steel frames that bring the best modern methods of construction to a tropical location. The use of large steel I-beams and concrete is a tenet of the international language of Modernist architecture and Studio Saxe have taken this design approach and recontextualised it for contemporary use. This project is a continuation of their search for an authentic Central American tropical architecture.
And if one were to paint a picture of the perfect tropical retreat, it would surely involve large open spaces, swathes of concrete, wood and glass, generous openings that create a seamless transition between the interiors and the lush greenery and bright sunlight outside. Studio Saxe has it nailed with not one, but two neighbouring houses in Costa Rica’s Santa Teresa rainforest.
The Joya Villas, a set of modern homes designed as rental properties, are head architect Benjamin Garcia Saxe’s latest residential offering. The San Jose-based architect likes to explore the relationship between architecture and the natural environment, and this commission gave him the perfect excuse to test out his studies.
The houses are nestled on a hillside and jut out of the area’s rich forest vegetation, standing out with their steel frames and rectangular forms. Aiming to use modernist forms and an international, contemporary design language, the studio paired the structural steel with naked concrete and wooden screens and doors, referencing both historical and modern Central American tropical architecture.
Dramatic cantilevers hang over the houses’ main living spaces, offering shade and protection from the region’s warm sun. The large openings and delicate details – such as the floating staircases – engender a sense of lightness. The interior follows a traditional arrangement, with living spaces on the ground level, leading out to a terrace with swimming pool, while private rooms are tucked away above.
You have 2 houses to chose from. Which shall it be?