EL CHANTE, a luxury eco-lodge in 14 open-air structures, CR

With this project, we had three main aims: conserving as much of the landscape as possible; limiting the buildings’ footprint; and avoiding a cumbersome design. We also wanted to retain as many of the existing trees as possible. Other architects had already drawn up plans for the site, but due to the site’s steep incline, their proposals were bulky and involved excessive felling of trees and levelling of the ground.

With this project, we had three main aims: conserving as much of the landscape as possible; limiting the buildings’ footprint; and avoiding a cumbersome design. We also wanted to retain as many of the existing trees as possible. Other architects had already drawn up plans for the site, but due to the site’s steep incline, their proposals were bulky and involved excessive felling of trees and levelling of the ground.

The steep slope and the surrounding natural environment made this project tricky, but we worked with these features instead of against them; dispersing the buildings among the trees. Rather than designing a large detached house, we divided the project into eleven separate structures (and three further pavilions have now been added to make a total of fourteen). These buildings are located strategically throughout the site, which means the essence of the place and its vegetation have been preserved, and the privacy of visitors is protected. El Chante is a pioneer in sustainable luxury, and is the only one of its kind in Costa Rica. Built in harmony with nature and located on the side of a hill some 300 metres above the ocean, the architecture of El Chante is inspired by the Pacific coastline. The open-air structures, creating natural ventilation and cooling, reflect and celebrate the tropical way of life. Air conditioning is unnecessary. Environmentally responsible luxury, through its recycling systems and sustainable features, makes the building truly exemplary. El Chante extends the trend for eco-lodges and sustainable tourism to the exclusive market of holiday rentals, enabling environmentally responsible travellers who are looking to immerse themselves completely in their tropical holiday to enjoy the luxury lifestyle with a clear conscience.