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Air Villa turns the Panamanian holiday retreat on its side


June 2, 2013

The 800 sq ft (74.3 sq mt) structure takes advantage of the 24ºC (76ºF) year round temperatures typical of the region (Rendering: WeMake3D / Haiko Cornelissen Architecten)

The 800 sq ft (74.3 sq mt) structure takes advantage of the 24ºC (76ºF) year round temperatures typical of the region (Rendering: WeMake3D / Haiko Cornelissen Architecten)

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Dutch studio Haiko Cornelissen Architecten has revealed a rethink of the typical Panamanian holiday home that breaks away from the current format by using sliding wooden doors that traverse the entire width of the building. To be located twenty minutes outside of the city in Cerro Azul, the sideways approach of the Air Villa design aims to provide an energy efficient dwelling with maximum exposure to the surrounding environment.

Designed in collaboration with local architect Casis Arquitectos, the 800 sq ft (74.3 sq m) design takes advantage of the 24º C (76º F) year round temperatures of the region. Rather than the enclosed, air conditioned structures typically used for weekend retreats from the hot city, all of the Air Villa rooms are arranged in a linear fashion along the southern exposure and provide cooling cross ventilation that has been inspired by indigenous Panamanian houses.

The linear arrangement enables each room to connect with the exterior in a manner that is unique for summer houses in Cerro Azul, using sliding doors to close off or connect with the outside space. However, these are not your typical sliding doors; wooden panels fit the entire north and south walls of each room, fitting into the exposed interior structure like a puzzle piece and allowing the space to be cooled by cross winds.

Due for completion in 2014, the structure will use local resources in addition to LED lighting and solar energy to minimize energy consumption.

Haiko Cornelissen explains the concept behind this new design in the video below.

Source: Haiko Cornelissen Architecten via designboom

About the Author
Donna Taylor After years of working in software delivery, Donna seized the opportunity to head back to university and this time study a lifelong passion: Architecture. Originally from the U.K. and after living in many countries, Donna and her family are now settled in Western Australia. When not writing Donna can be found at the University of Western Australia's Architecture, Landscape and Visual Arts Department. All articles by Donna Taylor

is such a structure secure?

Pranav Vissanji

My goodness, what about mosquitoes, no see ums, and palmetto bugs (roaches) to name just three annoyances the tropics have in abundance. Not to mention that when first world travelers spend $3-5 hundreds of dollars each just for airfare on a vacation, very few will enjoy their sleeping in humid and hot unairconditioned bedrooms, freely open to those agents of torture mentioned above. Forget about sex on these vacation. I live in the tropics, these vacations will be like camping in the jungle. Suitable for single men and the young budget minded, willing to suffer life based on such simplicities.


Not only the wild life, but the natural elements, typical humidity near the equator 75%+ storms, rain, an having to move the dishes to slide a panel that will fail from warping.

Trying too hard to be different, sorry simply stupid, get a tent, at least it has better protection.

Bob Flint

Always amazed how "innovative" an architect can be when he eliminates 70% of the requirements of a living space (privacy, security, storage, comfort...etc etc). But an interesting "pulltruded" design. Another art piece...that may inspire something useful.


what is the building material?


You will have lots of interaction with snakes, spiders the size of coffee cups, and clouds of mosquitoes.

This is one of dumbest building ideas ever.

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