The designers transformed an abandoned steel frame and concrete slab structure into a five-level, 18000 SF, indoor-outdoor residence and future music studio on a rain-forested mountainside overlooking the Golfo Dulce. The primary criteria for this project were to be environmentally sensitive, technologically advanced, and modernist by design. A spectacular view out to the bay merges with the infinity pool. A flexible building perimeter provides a seamless flow from inside to out that completely blends the built environment with the natural setting.
The forest wraps the house as the house wraps a piece of the landscape. Entering through a monumental opening described by the underside of the pool, one encounters two palm trees growing up through the center of the structure. At the edge of the tree well, a central pedestrian circulation spine, composed of the open stairway and an outdoor hall, occurs at every level. The top of the stairs at the 2nd level provides the first glimpse of the sea across an infinity edge pool. A variety of terrace spaces provide the house at this level with extensive exterior lounging & eating areas. The adjacent interior living-dining area has a perimeter of glass on three sides. Bedrooms are all fenestrated with screened wood louver panels, which in places open fully and in others exist simply as walls. As one ascends through the house, the spaces become more private and views become increasingly dramatic.
POWER & WATER
Casa Torcida is designed to be entirely self-sufficient. Its energy needs are provided by photovoltaic cells on the roof. This panel array, along with a solar panel system for domestic hot water, occupies 1470 SF of the top level, sharing the roof slab with a raised yoga deck and viewing platform. In the rainy season an on-site hydroelectric plant supplements the photovoltaic system, with minimal impact on the mountainside stream. A 75,000-gallon rainwater collection system provides all the potable and non-potable water needs. The state-of-the-art epoxy ceramic based roof coating assures that this water is pure and without construction related chemicals. As important, this silvery roof finish reflects the tropical sun, minimizing significant potential heat gain. Appliances and lighting were chosen for low power consumption. Solar hot water panels provide domestic hot water. Maximizing cross ventilation and providing efficient solar shading has eliminated the need for air conditioning in this year-round tropical climate. Modern technological features, architectural planning and sensitive detailing create an indigenous yet distinctly modern piece of architecture.
Structural steel and concrete provide the field upon which we composed pale natural quartzite, man-made quartz, several species of local wood, and refined stainless steel elements. We were intentionally mindful of working with a cool, light palette to counterbalance the year-round heat and humidity of this environment while also including the warmth and tactility of wood, which was certified, re-claimed and/or collected from the property during an earlier clearing. Perforated stainless steel screens and operable louver partitions