A Costa Rican Cliff House With Spectacular Ocean Views



House Cocobolo, created by Cañas Architects, roosts on the brink of 40 metre high cliff. The home’s position brings in a magnificent view of the ocean horizon, and mainland to the southeast. The house is named after its neighbouring trees that thrive in the forest and river canyon. The house is approached alongside the forest of cocobolo trees, where the view of the ocean peeps only fleetingly through the thick vegetation and undulating landscape. Once inside, the house opens up at double height, with huge expanses of glass in the living room that dispel the border between inside and out to the ocean.

The road approaches from the north, ending about a meter above the home.

Rough textured concrete forms the roof of the home.

The house is ventilated passively, utilising the cool breeze of its cliff top location.

The still pool around the back of the property reflects the architecture in its waters.

Despite the property’s many glass walls, the home interior remains concealed from the front approach.

The approach to the house entrance is stepped out over wide stone fingers that push down into the landscape, descending into a niche between the hill and the forest.

A bed of stones fill in the sides of the modern path.

A glass volume on the side of the house reveals a glimpse of the wooden stairwell.

Mature trees shroud most of the modern house exterior from sight.

The front door opens into a small hallway of double height. A low wall rests just beyond the threshold to build more intimacy in the entryway, and to maintain a level of privacy for the rest of the house. To the right of the entry door, we observe the solid wooden staircase design. Its open risers allow the forest views to pass right on through. Roughly textured concrete steps dip down to the left of the entry door, giving passage to the main living room.

The wooden staircase rises above a base of river stone, which seems to magically transcend the glass wall of the stairwell to continue out in the surrounding garden.

The first tread of the solid wood stairs hangs a few inches above floor level.

This amazing living room connects with every bit of its glorious surroundings via edge-to-edge windows. A unique coffee table design fits with the natural views, and juxtaposes the linearity of the modern sofa. A grey floor lamp quietly illuminates the lounge arrangement, and a ceiling fan helps with the ventilation.

The rest of the room is left sparse, because there’s no need to decorate a living room with a spectacular view.

Frameless glass doors retract to adjoin the indoor and outdoor living spaces. The lounge floor extends seamlessly out through the wall and onto the terrace beyond.

The terrace pushes out towards an infinity black pool, where a wet terrace holds the water just short of floor level.

The shallow water acts like a black mirror of the horizon and the clouds, and evokes the effect of bringing the distant ocean to meet the living room and an outdoor dining place.

Sweeping ocean views create a breathtaking first impression once past the initial home entryway.

Lush forest scenes thrive to the left.

A more illustrative view of how the infinity pool creates a visual link between the living space and the ocean.

The home also has a treehouse feel from being nestled into the forest…

… A Cor-ten steel volume extends into the leaves of a Cocobolo tree, before jutting out over the cliff like a great metal finger, pointing to the distant horizon.

Some modern outdoor chairs and an outdoor sofa comfortably furnish the sundeck.

Holes have been cut into the architecture to allow the native Cocobolo tree to grow on through.

Colourful cushions brighten the black outdoor sofa, and an ottoman coffee table nestles into the elbow of its L-shape.

Another outdoor eating area stands to the right of the outdoor lounge.

Just inside the glass walls, a formal eating area is lit with a trio of glass dining pendant lights. The unique industrial style dining table is built from steel girder legs and a raw concrete top.

Upstairs, the minimalist master bedroom has fantastic views over the beachline. Two Eames style rocking chairs face out to the panorama at the foot of the bed, and two white bedside table lamps perch on simple side tables. Behind the head of the bed is the doorway to the finger balcony. A short Cor-ten wall extends to handrail height across the back of the room to guide the way, continuing outward with the wooden floor.

An ensuite bathroom opens up at the side of the master suite, facing the forest.

The Cocobolo tree penetrates both the handrail of the finger balcony and the roof of the house.

The cantilevered walkway extends like a pirate plank from the house, passing above the sun terrace below and the 40 meter high void of granite cliff face.

The meter wide Cor-ten volume forms a stable rust-like appearance after several years of exposure to the weather.

A glass balustrade at the end of the cantilevered balcony allows the serene ocean views to breeze by unobstructed.

Once past the eave of the main roof, the balcony opens up slightly into a small sitting area, just large enough for two chairs.

Thin white columns hold up the overhanging eaves of the roof.

The Cocobolo tree is a part of the home, like one of its residents.

Floor plan.

Ground plan.

Side elevation.

Section drawing.

Here is a video tour of the house:

Recommended Reading:  Victor Canas’ Costa Rican Getaway House

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