8 of the world’s best forest homes

Fiona Macdonald (BBC) writes about a new book featuring “forest-dwelling designs across the globe, from tiny off-grid treehouses to experimental eco-friendly architecture–even in a city centre.” The book showcases beautiful houses located in forests around the world, from Australia, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Iceland, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Out of the eight homes Macdonald chose, three are in Latin America; only Casa Bautista—in Quintana Roo, Mexico—is on the Caribbean coast. (However, the book also features Casa Areca, in Tulum, Mexico.)

Dwellings that offer different takes on the archetypal forest refuge are featured in a new book – “flanked by towering pines, enveloped by the jungle, built into a shoreline, or perched on a mountainside”. Many of the designers in Living in the Forest (Phaidon) “have drawn from the past to build homes for the future… inspired by folklore, indigenous culture, vernacular architecture or the land itself”. In doing so, they have broken new ground in green construction, “reframing the way we live in nature”.

5 Casa Bautista, Productora, 2019, Quintana Roo, Mexico: This modern home designed by Mexican architects Productora has the air of a disused industrial building slowly being reclaimed by nature. Located on a narrow strip of the Caribbean Riviera Maya, it is hidden within the jungle of a buffer zone surrounding Tulum’s Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, the L-shaped plan sitting right alongside coastal trees. Trailing plants and jungle vegetation form as much of the outline as its concrete, which is pigmented to respond to the sun with shades that change over time. Minimising damage to the landscape, the building sits on a raised foundation supported by cross-shaped columns, its elevation allowing views over the jungle canopy to the sea.

6 Sirena House, Studio Saxe, 2020, Santa Teresa, Costa Rica: Costa Rican architects Studio Saxe designed a series of pavilions with overlapping rooves to help this waterfront home blend into the surrounding jungle. The interiors flow out to terraces, with foliage growing between structures and glazed corridors, enveloping the building in greenery. Each room has glass doors to the outside on two or three sides, allowing the ocean breezes to circulate, and the green design minimises energy use according to weather patterns, making this project “a pioneer in sustainable tropical architecture”, according to the book.

7 Casa Mirador, RAMA Estudio, 2021, Pichincha, Ecuador: Ecuador architects RAMA Estudio designed a metal-frame extension that hovers over the hillside, with a minimal foundation to avoid impact on the land beneath. It took less than three months to manufacture and assemble the prefabricated structure, which has a green roof for insulation. A double-sided storage unit in the middle can be accessed from both the kitchen and the living area, and a desk mounted on to one of the floor-to-ceiling windows make the most of the lush valley outside. [. . .]

For full article, see https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20230123-8-of-the-worlds-best-forest-homes

[Shown above: Casa Bautista, Productora, 2019, Quintana Roo, Mexico (Credit: Onnis Luque / Productora)]

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