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.
Villa Areopagus in Atenas, Costa Rica by Paravant Architects
March 28th, 2012 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Paravant Architects
Villa Areopagus planned as a retirement residence for a client from Hollywood, California, the design focused on creating a home that is harmoniously integrated into the landscape of the surrounding Costa Rican mountains. This was largely done by allowing for a strong connection between the indoor and outdoor living to take full advantage of the moderate climate and spectacular views the site offers. This approach is well suited for the lifestyle of the client which was an important factor for them to having a custom designed and built home.
The building has two very different façades. The street facing facade is a massive concrete wall providing privacy for the owners. Openings in the solid wall‐plane, frame controlled views of the surrounding mountains. These and other strategically placed openings provide for natural cooling and cross ventilation. The private south facing elevation, with large transparent glazing and deep roof overhangs completely opens up this side of the house to stunning views across the valley towards San Jose.
The living room has a 16m long fully retractable corner glass sliding wall allowing for true indoor‐outdoor living. The adjacent pool with its vanishing edge enhances the already dramatic experience of this space. Additionally, the pool acts as a cooling pond reducing air temperature in the house. Through thoughtful design, sensitive consideration of the orientation of walls and openings, an awareness of existing site conditions and the use of passive strategies the building does not require a mechanical air conditioning system, drastically reducing the energy needed to maintain a comfortable living environment compared to buildings of a similar size and setting.
In considering issues of sustainability it was important for the architects to exhaust all passive measures before implementing strategically technical active systems. The active elements used in this house were roof installed solar and photovoltaic systems providing hot water and electricity. Additionally, an onsite micro waste‐water‐treatment plant was provided, as well as rain water collection for yard irrigation..
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