The Gooden-Nahome family wanted to create a home on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica and they found an incredible site overlooking the ocean. The biggest challenge we encountered was that their plot of land consisted predominantly of a very steep slope and the ocean could only be seen from the mid to upper section of the site. We saw this as an opportunity rather than as a constraint and immediately considered what architectural response would be appropriate for these conditions.
Originally, we explored the possibilities of creating large retaining walls and digging back the soil in order to position the house, a technique typically applied to nearby buildings. Ultimately, however, we decided to do the exact opposite and therefore allow the slope, the earth, the vegetation, water, and animals to flow underneath the house. We essentially lifted the house up into the air on a series of pilotis, giving the impression that it is floating above the hillside. This saved the immense cost of building soil retention walls around the site. This common-sense solution allowed us to implement a very delicate intervention, one that allows the terrain to breathe, whilst providing spectacular views out towards the ocean from the key location on the site.