Greetings from scenic Lake Chelan, Washington, where the wireless/cell reception is a bit shaky, the municipal recycling program is sub-par, and there’s only one Starbucks for a couple thousand of people. Yep, this antsy and anxious New York-based blogger is once-again off the grid for the summer. And it’s paradise.
Well, I can’t really say my current paradise is off the grid in the slightest after taking a gander at this completely self-sufficient retreat in the middle of nowhere, deep in the lush rainforests of Costa Rica’s Peninsula de Osa, with no immediate access to curbside recycling or Starbucks … or sanitation, water, or electricity.
The Robles Arquitectos-designed home, besides being a traditional residence, serves as HQ for the ISEAMI Institute (Institute of Sustainability, Ecology, Art, Mind, and Investigation). Mmmkay. And what about the ILTVT (I’d Like to Visit There) Institute?
The house is the main area of the institute, therefore, it’s design will serve as a multifunctional place in order to host activities as Investigation, meditation, training, Yoga and joy at the terrace located in the first level. At the same time, the Institute director will habit the house on the second level. This way, possible functions are maximized on the smallest possible are.
The materials for the house were selected following the results given by an investigation process done to the existing project near the site. This way we took the results and then decide which were the best materials to use in order to create a low maintenance project. All the proposed materials were tested in order to evaluate its behavior on the difficult environment that the Osa peninsula has because of its humidity, high percentage of rain, mould, fungi and its flora and fauna.
The structural and electro mechanic design has been inspired on an exo-skeleton insect, this way the creation of open spaces between walls and ceilings are eliminated, creating a benefit for the indoor air quality because we avoid the creation of mould and plagues common in the projects around.
Within the chosen materials, the thermal-panels (Versawall and Versapanel by Centria) are chosen as the main material for walls and roof because of its solar reflectance index, structural and acoustic properties and ability to give the thermal comfort without using empty spaces on the walls. This material brings the opportunity to build the house, piece by piece as a Lego, a great strategy to minimize the use of transportation in order to lower the carbon footprint of the institute and the ability to build the house with fast and minimum labor on this secluded location. Because of the high structural capabilities of the material, the amount of steel structure was lowered considerably, saving the use of the natural resources needed for the anti-seismic structure. Furthermore the thermal-panel is a very light and easy to install, low maintenance and highly resistant material for humidity.