Residential Design

Vol 4, 2017

A business-to-business magazine focused on the collaborative process and talented work of residential architects and custom homebuilders.

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PARTI SHOT Project: Vogelsang/Reda Villa; project team: Michael G. Imber, FAIA, Brandan Moss, and Andrew Gander, Michael G. Imber, Architects, San Antonio and San Francisco; builder: Las Catalinas Construction. Drawings: Michael G. Imber, Architects. Tall Order MICHAEL G. IMBER, ARCHITECTS PROJECT LOCATION: COSTA RICA In the picturesque province of Guanacaste in the paradisal country of Costa Rica, a New Urbanist town called Las Catalinas is emerging from the jungle. Conceived in 2007 with master planner Douglas Duany's guidance, the resort comprises 1,200 scenic acres, only 200 of which will be developed. Michael Imber, FAIA, was called in at the beginning to contribute his vision of what this new town and its buildings might look like. "I spent quite a bit of time in the jungle trying to figure out how to invent a lan- guage where there was not already a strong architectural language," he says. "So, we turned to traditionally used tectonics—the native traditions and materials. Given the prevalence of earthquakes, tropical downpours, and tropical heat, concrete was the building material of choice. Concrete allows us to build stout-looking, visually lasting architecture." Las Catalinas is designed as a car-free, densely packed hill town; footprints are small and build- ings are tall. "You have to be able walk everywhere," Michael explains. "In terms of archetype, it's very close to Italian hill towns." This project is a custom home for two families who intend to use it and rent it out through the resort, necessitating a design with universal appeal and flexible functionality. The lowest level contains bunkroom spaces, primary living spaces are on the second level, and bedrooms are on the third. "There are tight urban-like streets with pedestrians, so you have pri- vacy issues. We internalized the house on the lower levels and externalized on upper levels. And, of course, everyone wants views—you've got to design backwards from the views," he explains. Covered ter- races shield interiors and outdoor spaces from the west sun, while accessing ocean views. Construction should be finished in time for the winter holidays. —S. Claire Conroy 78 RESIDENTIALDESIGNMAGAZINE.COM VOL. 4, 2017

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