Owner: Luis Bonilla, Ana Ballestero y Ester Bonilla Ballestero
Budget: 48.500.000 colones/ $84.300 USD
Text description provided by the architects. The challenge (and opportunity) of this project was to design a low-budget home that would adapt bioclimatically to its environment through passive design strategies, incorporation of local materials and an optimal spatial relationship with its surroundings to amplify the perceived size of the 125 m2 construction to give the impression of a much larger dwelling.
The project is characterized by the word “HONESTY”, a concept that was present in all stages of design and construction: HONESTY WITH THE ENVIRONMENT: The construction project was designed to adapt to the environment through: the setting of the building within the surrounding landscape, bioclimatic housing design to ensure the residents’ comfort in an environment characterized by humid tropical forests with high temperatures and humidity, use of materials with low carbon footprint such as wood, implementation of a rainwater harvesting system for domestic use, as well as a wastewater treatment system to separate organic and inorganic waste.
HONESTY WITH MATERIALS: From the very beginning of the project, the owners of the dwelling, Luis and Marce, requested the use of materials in their natural dimension and form. In other words, the materials were not manipulated in any way that would alter their aesthetic or structural qualities. For example, the wood used in the building retained its natural finish, metals were only treated with acrylic paints, the PVC was left in its original white finish, and the same goes for all the materials used. On the other hand, the design of the house was adjusted to go hand in hand with the commercial measures of each material, and any excess materials were used in other decorative and architectural elements, such as ceilings. This approach resulted in reduced construction waste in benefit of the environment, as well as reduced construction costs.
HONESTY WITH CLIENTS: The owners Luis and Marce had very clear ideas from early on of what they desired from this house, and this vision was discussed in detail during numerous meetings throughout the long design process. During this process, no large-scale presentations or render images were used, which tend to portray a project reference that in most cases does not correspond to the final result. Instead, a digital three-dimensional model was used in all meetings to build a virtual model of the house in cooperation with the clients. As in any project, modifications arose during the construction process and those were included in the same three-dimensional model. All adjustments were carefully reviewed with the clients before implementing them. In the end, the virtual model ended up being a faithful copy of the finished house.