Casa Osa Costa Rica holiday home, Caribbean retreat building design, Central America architecture images

Casa Osa in Costa Rica

Caribbean Architecture in Central America Vacation Home design by Obra Architects

24 Apr 2019

Design: Obra Architects

Location: Costa Rica

Casa Osa in Costa Rica

Photos by Peter Lynch

Casa Osa – Costa Rica Vacation Home

Casa Osa is a vacation retreat for an American doctor and family on the Osa Peninsula, realization of a client’s lifelong fascination with wilderness and desire for life in proximity of exuberant nature. Located on 98 hectares of virgin rainforest with views east to Golfo Dulce and west to the Pacific, the house occupies a small hill formerly mango farm, avoiding need to clear trees.

Casa Osa in Costa Rica

Stretching from entry of the property at the top of the hill down to the very edge of the bush at bottom, the different wings orient themselves according to the contours rotating in plan in relationship to one and other as they descend and privileging with their discrete axes of symmetry multiple points of fugue that structure the views of the forest around with silent invisible geometries.

Casa Osa in Costa Rica

Organized this way, the sequence of arrival takes place descending the hill through the house itself, alternating between the stasis of the rooms articulated as simple boxes open to the benign weather on all sides with traditional double-sloped roofs and the connecting stepped ramps protected by a more complex triangulated surface. The house proposes as intimate as possible a collaboration with nature, defining the space as it often does as a sequence of descending gaps opening in different directions.

Casa Osa in Costa Rica

The house encloses two walled gardens as it descends the slope. These are defined by low walls connecting the ends of alternating wings. Providing transition between “interior” and exterior, the walled gardens are outdoor places that can safely be used in the evenings when deadly poisonous snakes come out of the forest to freely roam about.

Casa Osa in Costa Rica

The arrangement proposes a controlled but unstable tension between house as object and space of the forest as site. Rather than freestanding element surrounded by leftover land, or boundarylike architectural arrangement encircling courtyards, it gives neither primacy to object nor space.

Casa Osa in Costa Rica

The house retains integrity of a single architectural volume seen from outside, as the pavilions overlap in depth, flattening perception of spaces in-between, yet as one enters, vistas of forest and sky between pavilions make it hard to discern if surrounded by one structure or many.

Casa Osa in Costa Rica

Due to its remote location as well as its extremely tight budget, the house is built with local well-known materials the Costa Rican builders are well acquainted with: walls are white stuccoed CMU with reinforced concrete structure, floors are polished concrete and ceilings and fenestration are wood from locally harvested already-dead trees.

Casa Osa in Costa Rica

The edge of all roofs have continuous 1.5m eaves creating a protective boundary to keep everything under them dry during most storms. The roof in painted corrugated metal is structured with custom steel profiles fashioned out of standard “C” extrusions coupled together to follow the changing roof angles, a system allowing assembly of a triangulated folding plane without need for any specially fabricated pieces. Connecting brackets can be measured, cut and bent on the site, an important advantage for a construction site located eight hours away from the nearest shop or hardware store.

Casa Osa in Costa Rica

Emile Bernard reminded him that, for the classical artists, painting demanded outline, composition, and distribution of light. Cezanne replied: “They created pictures; we are attempting a piece of nature.” He said of the old masters that they “replaced reality with imagination and by the abstraction which accompanies it.”

Casa Osa in Costa Rica

Of nature, he said, “the artist must conform to this perfect work of art. Everything comes to us from nature; we exist through it; nothing else is worth remembering.” — The Merleau-Ponty Aesthetics Reader: Philosophy and Painting, Ed. Galen A. Johnson, Michael B. Smith, Northwestern University, Press, 1994.

Casa Osa in Costa Rica

“We have to develop an optics,” Cezanne said, “by which I mean a logical vision—that is, one with no element of the absurd.” “Are you speaking of our nature?” asked Bernard. Cezanne: “It has to do with both.” “But aren’t nature and art different?” “I want to make them the same.” — Maurice Merleau-Ponty, “Cézanne’s Doubt,” Sense and Non-Sense, Northwestern University Press, 1964

Casa Osa in Costa Rica

Casa Osa, Costa Rica – Building Information

Architects: Obra Architects

Program residential retreat on 98 hectare rainforest site
Area: 370 sqm
In Collaboration with Nat Oppenheimer of Robert Silman Associates
Completed: 2013

Photography: Peter Lynch


Casa Osa in Costa Rica images/ information received 240419 from OBRA Architects

Location: Costa Rica, Central America

New Architecture in Costa Rica

Contemporary Costa Rican Architectural Projects

Costa Rica Architecture Designs – chronological list

Costa Rica Building News

Costa Rican Architecture

Recent Costa Rica buildings on e-architect:

Mint Resort, Santa Theresa
Architects: Studio Saxe
Mint Resort in Santa Theresa
photography: Andres Garcia Lachner
Mint Resort in Costa Rica

Joya Villas, Santa Teresa
Architects: Studio Saxe
Joya Villas
photo : Andrés García Lachner
Santa Teresa Property

CasaAltamira, Ciudad Colón
Design: Joan Puigcorbé
photo : Rodrigo Montoya / Joan Puigcorbé

Iseami House
Design: RoblesArq
Costa Rican House

A Forest for a Moon Dazzler
Costa Rican house design wins World’s Best Private House at World Architecture Festival Awards 2010

Mexican Architecture

American Architecture

Panama Building

Contemporary House Designs

Modern Architects

Comments / photos for the Casa Osa property design by Obra Architects in Costa Rica page welcome.