Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
A Forest For a Moon Dazzler in Playa Avellanas, Guanacaste, Costa Rica by Benjamin Garcia Saxe Architect
March 11th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal
The house was self built. The wood for the terraces and closet and kitchen walls was cut from trees on site; hence every piece is different from the next.
The Bamboo was cut from a family farm during full moon, then submerged in Diesel in order to cure it and dried under shade. Later it was cut into 15cm pieces and finished in maritime varnish.
The foundations are in poured concrete and the main columns and beams are made of galvanized steel bought from a local hardware store.
The roof is made of very inexpensive corrugated tin and painted in noncorrosive white paint.
My mom and I never had a place we could call home. We met on the streets, always dreaming of a place we could be together. She stayed in the city in order to find comfort in my closeness. I never stopped dreaming of a place where she could find happiness.
Torn apart by the city, she has moved to the forest in search for home. She has found the moon and the sun and they dazzle her every day. She has found beauty in her own cycle of living and her presence in this world. She no longer needs others to compare and measure her happiness.
My mom began to construct the place for her dwelling with scrap wood and plastic bags. She placed her bed on a corner where she could have a direct view of the moon whilst going to sleep. She has told me that that watching the moon reminds her of me.
Perhaps because of her memory of the city, she is afraid that someone will come to disturb her solitude. She has asked me to complete her dream of living safely in the forest, but I know she believes this is a ways for us to always be together.
Inspired by her routine I have given her an internal protected forest of bamboo. At night the cone-like surface of her new home opens to the moon and reminds her that it is me who is holding it in space as she goes calmly to sleep.
She wakes up when the moon is going down. The loud noise of the crickets reminds her that she is surrounded by the forest. The warmth of the rising sun fi lters through the leaves and warms the rough wood fl oors. She knows its time to make bread. The chirping has changes to bird singing.
The stove heats the air and the smell seeps through every crack into the forest.
My mom goes outside to take a shower under the water tank and suddenly a sporadic rain mingles with her drops. She runs into the house and dries up with the heat of the stove.
I wake up and realize that its morning. The sun is up and there is fresh bread on the table. I can see that my mom is planting an aloe vera plant in the dirt floor of her living room. She somehow knows the perfect place for it to grow.
The sunrays begin to hit the tin roof. She opens all doors, all screens, all windows and the wind picks all of her Hindu drapes. I can also see the recently washed blankets waving on a rope that is strung from the two big trees that give shade to the house. The wind picks up the leaves and brings them into the house. My mom is always cleaning but nothing is ever clean.
There is not much to do, but she manages to keep herself busy between Tarot cards, left hand political readings, pot, and a seldom phone call.
She moves about the house trying to fi nd a place with a better signal. She has found such a place between the front door and the tree. She has placed a rock there, where she can sit to talk for hours.
My mom wants to take me to the beach, but I can see that she is worried about leaving the house alone. She hides some of her most valuable possessions: books, pictures, and the pot. She places a tree branch in front of the entrance, leaves the radio on, and the door wide open.
She then screams “Bye, we’ll see you later” as if there was someone still in the house. To me it seems as if she is saying goodbye to her house, and the house mumbles through the forest as we walk farther and farther away from the radio.
We walk through the forest into the dirt road that reaches the beach-break. My mom goes for a swim in the ocean and after a while sits right next to me to watch the sunset. She is dazzled with the sight even though she has seen it hundreds of times. She explains that we should head back in order to catch the last glimpse of sunrays that will lead the way back to the house. We begin to hear the radio getting louder and louder as we get closer to the house. She checks all her natural alarms that tell her if anyone has been around the house; from the tree-branch in front of the door to the hanging ceramic fishes that she has placed hanging from the surrounding trees.
The sunlight is dimming and soon the forest will be illuminated by the bright moon. She is afraid that darkness will bring an intruder to disturb us. The candles provide a flickering light while she plays the guitar. She prepares a quick meal which is hard to eat because of the lack of light.
The moonlight enters the house, and I know that soon she will go to sleep. She has placed her bed in a corner of the house where there is a direct view of the moon while she goes to sleep. She washes her face and wraps her body in soaking towels that lower her body temperature throughout the night.
I can see that the moon-sight dazzles her every time and the sound of the crickets put her to sleep.
Every once in a while she wakes up in distress by the chirping noise of her natural alarms; from the carefully placed gravel around the house, to the dry branches that surround her bed. The only thing that gives her comfort is the illuminating sight of the moon moving through the trees.
Contact Benjamin Garcia Saxe Architect