Besides amazing style, tropical architecture design is all about working with the elements of nature. Tropical design brings the outside world in for an ambiance of openness and naturalness. Architects are in constant pursuit of breezes, cross-ventilation and shade for cooling effects, and sunlight for warmth, energy and light.
Costa Rican architect Richard Muller, head of the firm RM Architecture & Engineering, has been designing and building innovative tropical architecture in Costa Rica for more than 35 years. One of his favorite spots for home building is at the Costa Rica eco-development Portasol Rainforest & Ocean View Living. The extraordinary sustainable residential development is located in the rainforest by the sea on Costa Rica’s Central Pacific Coast just south of Manuel Antonio National Park – named a best beach in the world for 2016.
Here are six cool designs for tropical architecture that will make you want to build a home in Costa Rica.
1. Build the house on stilts. Not only does this allow you to avoid massive insect issues and humidity, by elevating the house you get better air flow. Lighter structures up on stilts interfere as little as possible with the natural terrain. Animals can still walk underneath, and you’re not destroying trees and nature by flattening out a huge piece of land with a bulldozer. “We try to save every single tree that is possible. If we can cut zero trees, we cut zero trees. We touch as little as possible of nature,” said Muller. “You want to build appropriate to the location so you can really live the experience of being in the tropical rainforest.”
2. Use a steel structure and concrete bases for strength in a humid, insect-infested environment in the tropical rainforest. Wood can be used in the home, such as in ceilings, cabinetry, etc., but must be treated against insect invasion. An innovative idea for flooring: processed bamboo.
3. Design for natural ventilation. You want to bring the outdoors in and the indoors out. This means lots of open spaces, cross-ventilation, high ceilings, using screens and fans so you can minimize air-conditioning use and yet keep comfortable.
4. Protect against the elements. Design large overhangs and covered outdoor areas for sun and rain protection. Use gutters and downspouts, and other measures to reduce water drainage speed for soil erosion.
5. Small swimming pools. For an elevated house, you want to keep your pool on the small size because of the weight. The upside is with an elevated pool, you have fantastic infinity edge designs.
6. Sustainable architecture. Concepts include: solar energy for hot water and electricity; individual home sewage treatment plants; rainwater harvesting for landscaping; and re-using gray water to run toilets.
If you’re ready to buy a vacation home in Costa Rica, or a new place to live in one of the best countries to retire, find out the easy steps to buy property in Portasol Rainforest & Ocean View Living and build your dream home in Costa Rica.
Article by Shannon Farley