Somewhere on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, sits a testament to what true architecture looks like. The harmony between site and structure is almost as though the structure grew along with the trees that surround it, almost as though it also burst forth from a seedling and shared its infancy and adolescence with the vegetation that shades it and offers it amenity.
I’m speaking about the Flotanta House by Benjamin Garcia Saxe Architecture, that barely impacts its surroundings, but is seemingly one with it. Situated on a very steep slope, the architect did away with the predictable idea of large and expensive concrete retaining monstrousities (walls) for stuctural support and employed a technique that would afford the residents views of the ocean nearby. The home was lifted into the air on stilt like pylons called “piloti” to allow the fauna and flora of the site flow underneath the house. Not only did this approach save money, energy and time, but it also created the illusion of the house floating above the steep hillside site, probably a reason for the name, Flotanta, but thats just my guess.
After successfully wedding the site, the main house was then created using prefabricated living modules that were craned up to position and linked one to another by “flying bridges” also hovering over the natural landscape. The prefabrication of the modules offsite made for an relatively easy construction process while reducing time and effort and most probably waste. Another big plus of prefabrication was the possibility of the house “growing” over time, by simply adding more modules and structural “piloti. The living modules also feature folding doors that create a seamless boundary with the outdoors, blurring the lines between ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ and offering a tranquil space to go about the day to day activities while drawing inspiration from the nature around you.
The end result is a beautiful, sub tropical getaway that is one with nature. From its extensive use of bamboo and wood (minimal use of glass), to its contemporary geometry, not forgetting its bright, airy and attractive interior spaces, the Flotanta house, is as described by the architects “Common sense, creativity and clever engineering…”.