How can elements of prospect and refuge inform the RISE house prototype, taking in the distant landscape on steeply sloping sites?

RISE House Prototypes | Costa Rica

RISE Costa Rica is a new 800-acre wellness community near San Isidro, cultivating a community of like-minded entrepreneurs celebrating wellness and happiness. This client is making an overarching commitment to regenerative practices: “it is not our duty to leave a better world to our children, it is our honor.”

MD is leading the masterplan and residential community at RISE, striving to certification of the Living Building and Community Challenges (LBC+LCC).

Two residential types have been developed for the Rise community. Both offer a S, M and L version to suit the needs of homeowners. Each share a common design language and materials that strive to for elemental simplicity and strong connections to place:

  • The Horizon House was developed for more steeply sloped sites, with interstitial outdoor spaces between bedroom wings and the living/dining kitchen pavilion. The pavilions are connected by covered outdoor spaces for a seamless indoor/outdoor living.
  • The Hearth House is compact, organized around a central living space, with entrance courtyard and view terrace on each side. Flanked by thick masonry walls and bedrooms beyond, the house creates a hearth-like space around the communal kitchen.

Ongoing phases of the overall community includes a food forest, permaculture mandala garden, wellness resort, urban village, school and recreational areas. Restoration of the landscape will bring bio-diversity back alongside human habitation, offsetting carbon footprints as the development grows

Location: San Isidro, Costa Rica
Type: Single Family Residences
Size: 1,600 to 3,500 SF
Target: LBC Petal Certification

Horizon House

The Horizon House addresses the steeper sites by shrinking in the downhill direction, and widening the plan parallel to the view.

A series of pavilions and gardens are arranged to create a series of indoor and outdoor living areas.

The Horizon House includes a grand sweeping roof similar to the Common House as it spans over walls and pavilions.
Light is brought down into the outdoor living spaces through oculi cut into the roof.

Horizon House Concept Plan

Hearth House

Essential Elements

Earth & Sky

The RISE residential community occupies the lower reaches of the Talamancan Forest eco-region, one of the most ecologically diverse places on earth. Clouds sweep ridges rising from valleys and streams. The low sun creates a shining brow in the early morning and late afternoon, with cool fresh rising from below. This unique condition inspired a series of homes highly integrated with the land.

To create the home, the earth is symbolically lifted with a floating roof, forming a hearth anchored to Terra firma. Light from 360 degrees enters below the roof from all sides, allowing each home strong connections to circadian rhythms and nature.

The hearth spaces are flanked enclosed courtyard gardens. Of the many ancient traditions celebrating the sacred and profane, the meeting of earth and sky is the most elemental.

Water & Sustenance

Water is the third most fundamental of the classical elements. The periodic mid-afternoon rains in the winter are spectacular events, and encourage coming together around the hearth.

Water from the high roof is brought down through a sound-inducing rain chains, into a cistern within the courtyards for later use. Natural freshwater pools dissolves the edge between earth and sky, with integrated natural eco-pool wetlands. Outdoor shower and water gardens in the master bedroom further celebrate daily water rituals.

Materials & Comfort

The RISE home is designed to meet the Living Building Challenge which means it generates more energy than it consumes, collects and stores only the water that falls on the site, and processes all waste in a closed loop system. Materials and finishes are free of toxic chemicals, promoting health and longevity in those who dwell within. This bioclimatic house dynamically responds to its environment, becoming one within its surrounding ecosystem.

Hearth House Floor Plan

Hearth House Section