harmonizing modern comforts with rough nature
Studio Saxe celebrates the completion of its Raintree House, a contemporary oasis in Costa Rica. The breezy and sunlit house is designed for an international client seeking a sustainable lifestyle, prioritizing wellness and connection with the natural context. As the says: ‘We wanted a home that felt like it had always been there, hugged by the canopy, dancing with the jungle.’
Thus, the architecture is shaped by a vision of integration with the jungle. Each existing tree on-site is preserved, informing the boundaries of the house and framing views of the ocean and sunset beyond. The architects seek to curate a series of contemplative moments and harmonize the site’s natural roughness with the comforts of a modern house.
the ‘raintree house’ in the jungle
The architects at Studio Saxe designed the Raintree House as an exploration atop a clearing on the crest of a hill. Describing the architecture’s relationship with its site, the team notes: ‘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.’
studio saxe designs a holistic environment
Studio Saxe designed both the architecture and the interiors of its Raintree House, ensuring a holistic environment throughout. This integrated workflow allowed for a collaboration a precise choice of materials at every scale. The palette includes burnt wood, teak, hand-made hydraulic tiles, woven lamps — all of which together bring a sense of local craft to the entire design. The architects design the home with durability in mind, as it is intended to serve not only as the client’s home but also as a rental property.
the sustainable concept
Studio Saxe elaborates on the sustainable strategies employed in the design of its Raintree House: ‘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.
‘Meanwhile, 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.’