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Casa Flotanta "floats" above a Costa Rican hillside


February 5, 2014

Casa Flotanta is located in Playa Santa Teresa, Costa Rica (Photo: Benjamin Garcia Saxe Architecture)

Casa Flotanta is located in Playa Santa Teresa, Costa Rica (Photo: Benjamin Garcia Saxe Architecture)

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Following the Gooden-Nahome family's decision to purchase a plot on a steep slope in Playa Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, they then tasked Benjamin Garcia Saxe Architecture with building a house upon it. The result is the recently-completed Casa Flotanta: a home which boasts an attractive design that both reduces the structure's impact on the local environment, and lends the appearance of it "floating" above the hillside.

Upon considering the fact that only placement toward the top of the sloping plot would afford stunning views of the nearby Pacific Ocean, Benjamin Garcia Saxe Architecture opted to build the house atop several large stilts. This was less destructive to the local environment than building retaining walls and removing large amounts of soil, and also lends the home its attractive appearance – and name.

Since seismic activity is not unheard of in the area, the architects were sure to engineer Casa Flotanta with this in mind. The 300 sq m (3,229 sq ft) two-bedroom home is primarily constructed from modular units which were built from galvanized steel and finished in locally-sourced teak and bamboo before being placed atop the stilts.

The interior layout features large open spaces which encourage natural ventilation and remove the need for air-conditioning. Various areas of the house are accessed via wooden walkways.

A company rep informed Gizmag that the house sports a rainwater collection system, a solar heating unit, and high-efficiency LED lighting. A solar array is also planned for the future.

Source: Benjamin Garcia Saxe Architecture via Inhabitat

About the Author
Adam Williams Adam scours the globe from his home in North Wales in order to bring the best of innovative architecture and sustainable design to the pages of Gizmag. Most of his spare time is spent dabbling in music, tinkering with old Macintosh computers and trying to keep his even older VW bus on the road. All articles by Adam Williams

Beautiful home and location. Nothing said about affordability but who is asking. Just wondering if there are "no see-ums" in Costa Rica because I know they exist in Belize? Maybe an invisible force field?

Mark A

I think that is beautiful. It would be cool to live in a house like that.

I agree with the stilts instead of building a retaining wall and disrupting the view / look of the house.


beautiful ! , but a lot of factors have to be considered , labor costs, material availability , weather resistant. Makes me wish i had retired to Costa Rica, like I once considered, but timing is a factor.

Len Simpson

That's a beauty. The indoor-outdoor concept and special attention to sight lines and natural materials all add into the concept. I like the fact that it doesn't disturb the site, and would probably be good in otherwise heavy soil and rainy earth/drainage situations.


Stilts are good for a house in the jungle, you reduce the chance of getting snakes, spiders, poisonous frogs, and other unwelcome guests.

But wide open walls without screens is not practical. Might be OK in the daytime while you are there to keep creatures and people out.

But at night you have to close everything up tight, so without a/c the house will be unbearably hot.


Stunning home!! I would buy it in a heartbeat if the price was right. Simple lines, locals woods, open views, no clutter, etc. appeals to me.

Marco Corona

WOW! Stilts? locally grown? why use anything else there? Views? can they be avoided from this site? Mahogany and bamboo? does concrete grow on the local trees? Is there any glass? does it come from the beach sand? Mosquitoes? Never! Nylon netting? Not here! Solar array? pay for power with funds left over from building.... Budget? why bother?

"Miracles are a snap! The impossible takes a little longer."

Hervin Romney AIA

lovely, but it only applies to that location and does not appear to be child friendly. I would love it as a retirement home, but I would add more covering of the walkways etc. to cover weather changes and having grand-children to stay. Certainly stunning to look at and look from


Costa Rica is on the "Ring of Fire" and experiences a lot of earthquakes. I wouldn't live in a stilt house in an area like that for obvious reasons. I've been to Costa Rica and the weather around San Jose is always pleasant (seventies) but lower altitudes are quite hot. Afternoon breezes and rain storms are nice enough though. I would retire there in a heartbeat if it weren't for family ties. Dollars go a lot farther there but buying a car was VERY expensive when I visited; about three times usual do to taxes that discouraged car ownership.


Hello. Thanks Gizmag for writing about our Floating house and for all the excellent comments. We appreciate any and all feedback. the house is a dream come true for us that we can now share with others who come and stay at the house facebook.com/casaflotanta.com

warmest regards! Dahlia

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