Joya Villas Bri Bri by Studio Saxe

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Location: Santa teresa, Costa Rica

Area: 961 m2
Client: Joya Villas
Date of Completion: 2018

Architects: Studio Saxe

Design Director: Benjamin Garcia Saxe
Project Architect: Cesar Coto & Rogelio Quesada
Project Coordinator: Laura Morelli
Landscape: Vida Landscape

Steel and wood frames diffuse inside-out boundaries in Costa Rica surf town.

Set in the rainforest of Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, two modern homes project out of the landscape and are defined by a series of steel frames that bring the best modern methods of construction to a tropical location. The use of large steel I-beams and concrete is a tenet of the international language of Modernist architecture and Studio Saxe have taken this design approach and recontextualised it for contemporary use. This project is a continuation of their search for an authentic Central American tropical architecture.


The raw materials of steel and concrete are balanced with the careful use of crafted wooden screens and floors, to ensure the design of these rental properties is rooted in local traditions and building techniques. The black metal frames create cantilevered openings that hover over the social spaces below, creating a blurred distinction between inside and outside areas and between private and more communal atmospheres.


Large openings on every level of the building make the building seem lightweight and they connect the inhabitants to the surrounding natural environment. A delicate timber staircase appears to float from one floor to the other, suspended by the finest steel cables. The town of Santa Teresa on the pacific coastof Costa Rica has become a multicultural hub, renowned for its large waves and untouched nature. Joya Villas is situated on a hilltop, with its main terrace directly overlooking one of the best surfing breaks in the region. People have rented the homes can enjoy the views of the best swells from the comfort of their infinity pool or simply walk down to the beach to enjoy.

Architect Benjamin Garcia Saxe said:

 “Joya Villas is a clear reflection of a new wave of contextual contemporary tropical architecture that is born from and adapts to its precise location, land contours, and climate. These ingredients are then brought to life through the careful balance of modern building techniques and touches of handcrafted natural materials. Everything we do at Studio Saxe is focused on trying to enhance the experience of the natural in the inhabitant of spaces and perhaps even create moments of relaxation and reflection. This train of thought and the architecture that is emerging could begin to be considered as the birth of an authentic Central American Tropical Architecture.”

Studio Saxe

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All images courtesy of Studio Saxe | © Andres Garcia Lachner




Studio Saxe

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Benjamin Garcia Saxe
Executive Director

Benjamin Garcia Saxe set up his own practice in San Jose, Costa Rica in 2004, with the aim of exploring our relationship with the natural environment through architecture. Since then, Studio Saxe has grown into an award-winning international practice made up of a multidisciplinary team, creating buildings and spaces by blending technological innovation with handcrafted techniques to form truly sustainable designs. Founded on the belief that buildings must connect to their landscape – whether a tropical paradise or a concrete jungle – Studio Saxe brings a global attitude to solve local problems. Ideas and techniques from around the world can be harnessed to benefit communities, both at home and abroad. Local traditions and identities are explored and developed, ensuring a process whereby we learn from the past and build for the future.

The dedicated architects and designers at Studio Saxe uncover new design solutions for every project, treating each building as an opportunity to improve methods and approaches, responding to specific places. Working alongside clients and collaborators, the studio continually seeks new forms and functions that blur the boundaries between natural habitats and inhabited space.




Studio Saxe


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