Category: Sustainable Development

Artist’s retreat in Costa Rica by architect Gianni Botsford

When the weather turns cold up north and I’m kicking myself for not buying that plot of land on Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula, I start dreaming of what kind of house I would have built there (and still may, Economy willing).

If I ever become a landowner, I’ll humbly ask Italian-born architect Gianni Botsford to design my own private writer’s retreat in Costa Rica. I’d like it to look a lot like what he did for a client in Cahuita, on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast.

Dubbed Casa Kike, the structure won two architecture awards in 2008, so this house isn’t exactly news. But I find myself circling back to the idea of this place from time to time, to remind myself of how much can be done with very little.

  • Architects: Gianni Botsford
  • Location: Cahuita, Costa Rica
  • Client: Confidential
  • Budget: UK £55,000 (US $108,971)
  • Contractor: Lechenne Construction
  • Structural Engineers: Tall Engineers
  • Photographs: Christian Richters

The house is made mostly of locally sourced wood and is built on a foundation of wooden stilts, a common technique on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast, which gets almost 200 inches of rain a year. There are two parts of the structure—a studio space with library, writing desk and grand piano, and (a short distance along a raised walkway), a smaller pavilion with sleeping quarters and bathroom. The roof is of corrugated steel sheeting, which (for better of worse) is a commonly used construction material in the area.  I like Botsford’s use of it here—the way the roof extends and becomes the exterior walls seems playful and daring.