Nosara, Costa Rica
Nestled in the dense Costa Rican jungle, Benjamin G. Saxe and his design team at Studio Saxe have completed the Raintree House, a true sanctuary conceived as an intimate retreat whose gentle impact on its context is a stylish, contemporary take on organic architecture.
Ocean views and an authentic jungle experience merge to create this structure of the contemporary design, crafted with natural local materials.
From the very beginning, our common vision was to explore the possibility of blending the architecture with its jungle surrounding, keeping every single tree and adding to the habitat, while capturing a framed view of the ocean and sunset.
The framework for the design is based around a series of moments of contemplation, which balance the roughness of nature with the benefits of modern comfort.
Within a clearing on the crest of a hill, we planted a strong foundation and acrobatic structure so that the rest of the house could float over the jungle with no extra support.
The main living areas as well as the master bedroom were placed on the second floor, where the experience of the jungle canopy is felt more intensely and also where the ocean and sunsets are captured through meticulously framed views.
A stair and circulation that is neither outside nor inside encourage the inhabitants to always be connected to nature as they meander around the house.
The integration of Saxe Architecture with Saxe Interiors allowed the team to collaborate on the precise choice of materials to create a sense of wholeness of design inspired by nature.
Burnt wood, teak, hand-made hydraulic tiles, woven lamps, and many more bring a sense of local craft to the entire design.
The house was designed with durability in mind as it will serve not only as the client’s home but also as a rental property.
Bioclimatic principles guided the design of the house.
A very large roof “umbrella” extends out very dramatically and encapsulates the entire living space, creating an ecosystem between the structure and the jungle.
In a tropical setting, like this, designs need to adapt to strong rains during the green season and intense heat during the dry season.
Water is captured and recycled for irrigation and reuse.
Solar panels generate part of the energy of the house and materials are kept rough in order to withstand the tropical environment without constant maintenance.
Overall ancient and local techniques are combined with technology to create a sustainable design that is both rooted in the past and looking to the future.
A strong concrete foundation base was created at the top of the hill asymmetrically allowing the main prefabricated steel elements to cantilever over the hill and above the jungle.
Seismic-proof structural design borrowing industrial construction methods were reinvented to give a domestic warm touch, through the careful placement of materials and cladding.
The result of combining contemporary building techniques, for speed and durability, with local know-how creates a unique expression of architecture that marries a modern aesthetic with a local imprint of textures and craftsmanship.
This allowed us to create a language of architecture that is honest and reflects a truly distinct process of understanding local capabilities within international standards.
Project: Raintree House
Architects: Studio Saxe
Lead Architect: Benjamin G. Saxe
Interior Design: Saxe Interiors
Structural Engineering: Guidi Estructurales
Electromechanical Engineering: Dynamo
Photographers: Kirsten Ellis