“This was a dream commission,” says UK-based architect Gianni Botsford. “Design a retreat for a writer on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. Make it contemporary, with clean lines and a modern aesthetic, and yet be sensitive to local tradition and material use.”
▽雨林中的度假屋，retreat in the jungle
The Artist’s Retreat is built within the grounds of an existing typical one-storey cobbled-together Cahuita house, such as dot the beach-front. Both buildings combine to create the whole property: the older house as guest quarters and the main kitchen, while the new pavilions are the artist’s main residence.
The result is an outstanding twin-volume structure of timber pavilions; one for daytime use, one for night, linked by a wooden walkway. The pavilions are raised 1.2 m above ground level on timber bases perched on wooden stilts. They sit at each end of the similarly raised walkway, their single pitched roofs rising peak at the extremities of the overall structure. They look like bookends or two quarrelling siblings, squatting hunched with their backs to each other.
▽立面图，体块的屋顶向两侧升起，elevation showing that the roofs rise to the edge of the whole architecture
The roof of the larger daytime work and contemplation space rises from 3 m at the walkway entrance to 4.75 m, to create a high end elevation with a large glazed facade facing towards the sea. The glazing comprises multiple rows of louvered panels. These inexpensive opening slats are common in local architecture. They are repeated at the other end of the building, effectively enabling the writer to open the ends of the pavilion and allow the sea breeze to flow freely through the entire space.
Inside, the library of 17,000 books, a writing desk and a grand piano, nestle within walls and a ceiling crafted out of locally-grown hardwoods. Structural columns rise diagonally up the walls and ceiling beams, also hewn from timber and up to 10m long are knitted together in a diamond pattern. The overall effect is warm and homely, like the wood paneled walls of a study, but also exciting in its audacious yet playful nature.
▽可以将室外景观一览无余的玻璃立面，glaze facade through which scenery could be fully enjoyed
▽工作体块入口，使用玻璃百叶加强通风，entrance of the larger volume，using glass louver to enhance ventilation
▽从步道看向工作间，view of the work space from the walkway
▽工作体块室内，interior of the larger volume
▽拥有17000册藏书的图书馆，library with 17000 pieces of book
The smaller pavilion houses the bedroom and bathroom. Identical in form but only 2/3rds the size of the larger pavilion, it is orientated so that its highest end façade faces towards the jungle. It too, features glazed louvers to the end elevations.
The wooden walkway between the two interior spaces is surrounded by a landscaped garden that includes a small pool and over 200 plants: it is seen as an outdoor living space, as large as the main studio, which nestles between avocado, mango and cashew trees.
▽小体块的外观和大体块相似，从玻璃立面可以欣赏雨林景观，the form of the small volume is similar to the larger one, from which facade the view of jungle could be enjoyed
He has taken reference from native building styles and materials, rather than the western-influenced architecture favoured by wealthier Costa Ricans. However, using environmental software, the architect has plotted the sun movement, prevailing winds and desired views onto the site to find the optimum position and orientation for the new building. In addition to these parameters, the client also insisted that no trees be felled.
The shape of the two pavilions – parallelograms – reacts to results of the environmental analysis: it assists in promoting the best views and ventilation, while keeping the low sunlight out of the interior spaces and screening them from neighbouring properties. The length of the walkway between the pavilions was also calculated for optimum efficiency. At twice the length of the main building, it ensures that the smaller pavilion is not in the larger one’s ‘wind shadow’; that it benefits from the ocean breeze as much as the main building does.
The structural design of the pavilions is an intricate pattern of diagonal timber beams and columns. Designed for both structural and aesthetic qualities, the 355 x 50 mm ceiling beams negate the use of central columns. All timber is sourced local hardwood – Laurel, Cachá or Surá – as is the timber cladding and decking for the walkway. Externally, the pavilions are clad in low cost corrugated steel sheeting, as used on many rural Costa Rican dwellings.
▽建筑总平面，形态为平行四边形，master plan showing that architecture in parallelogram shape
▽如同钻石分割一般的梁和结构柱，beams and columns knitted together like diamond division
“We are bringing new architectural life to the Caribbean by reappraising the architectural heritage of the region and reviving indigenous techniques,” says Botsford. “However, by coupling them with modern design technologies and aesthetics, we have created an eco-architecture that is remarkably light, impacting on its surrounding only minimally both physically and environmentally.” The finished project is a tropical idyll, sitting serenely in its surrounding habitat. Botsford has achieved this by expertly combining local materials and construction methods with his trademark state-of-the-art design techniques to create the perfect writer’s retreat.
▽隐蔽在林中的生态建筑，eco-architecture hidden in the jungle