Costa Rica Treehouse is inspired by the jungle of this densely forested site on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. Built entirely of locally harvested teak wood, the retreat engages with the jungle at each of its three levels: at the forest floor, the middle floor is nestled within the trees, and the top level rises above the tree canopy with views of the surf at nearby Playa Hermosa beach.
“The project has an intentionally small footprint and is quite tall – this allowed us to maintain a light influence on the site while engaging with the natural landscape in different ways on all three levels of the house.” –Tom Kundig, FAIA, RIBA
The clients are surfers as well as avid environmentalists, and this project reflects their deep commitment to sustainable land management in Costa Rica. Designed as an open-air surfer hut, the project engages the Costa Rican landscape in various ways, from the vegetation accessible just off the main floor, to the larger weather and surf patterns one can experience on the top level.
Designed to operate passively, the home is intended to breathe and remain open to the elements in this temperate semi-tropic environment. The top and bottom floors are completely open to the elements with a double-screen operable wood shutter system, allowing daylight and natural ventilation, but also privacy and security when the owners are away. Shading, a 3.5-kW photovoltaic array, and a rainwater collection system make the house’s compact footprint even lighter on the land.
“The project has a relatively light, natural footprint on the landscape, both in terms of the site itself, but also in using available local materials that are helping advance the next level of environmental stewardship in Costa Rica.” –Tom Kundig, FAIA, RIBA
Project Team: Tom Kundig, FAIA, RIBA, Design Principal; Kevin Kudo-King, AIA, LEED® AP, Principal; Martina Bendel, Project Architect
Key Consultants: Dante Medri, General Contractor; Daniel Sancho, Associate Architect and Structural Engineer; Energetica Soluciones y Consultoria, Mechanical and Electrical Engineer; KB Architectural Services, Gizmo Design; Niteo Lighting, Lighting Design; Vida Design Studio, Landscape Architect