Explore this sustainable Costa Rican retreat by Studio Saxe

Naia, a set of beach houses by Studio Saxe in the lush tropical forest of Costa Rica, blends bioclimatic architecture and contemporary flair in the perfect summer retreat

Naia retreat in Costa Rica blends indoors and outdoors living
(Image credit: Andres Garcia Lachner)

This sustainable Costa Rican retreat in the lush tropical forest is the brainchild of local architecture practice Studio Saxe. Located near the beautiful coastal town of Santa Teresa, the set of beach houses, a complex called Naia, is an exquisite escape, designed to create a comfortable and eye-catching environment by blending sustainable architecture and contemporary style. 

One of the houses is lower and is composed of smaller pavilions, each containing a certain function. They are connected visually and physically, as well as protected from the elements, by a single flat roof. Perforated teak screens, large openings and an internal garden help residents maintain a strong connection with the natural setting outside, from every part of the house. 

Naia retreat among tropical foliage at night

(Image credit: Andres Garcia Lachner)

The second home is larger and taller, spanning two levels. As opposed to staying low to the ground, like the first home, it is lifted in a composition of orthogonal volumes – some open air, some enclosed, housing various functions. Living spaces are flowing and open, combining inside and outside areas for a lifestyle that embraces the outdoors. The horizontal roof feature appears here too, bringing everything together, while creating a unifying aesthetic between the two retreats. The play of light and shadow is also important in this structure, enhanced by double-height spaces indoors. 

Sustainable strategies include working with the region's climate to create rooms that are naturally lit and ventilated as much as possible, using shading, planting and air flow to cool the interiors down. Solar panels provide hot water, and rainwater is collected in the expansive roof structures and used for garden irrigation. 

‘We decided to blend the tropical jungle into the houses whilst creating bioclimatic comfort for people to enjoy the outdoor experience,’ says studio founder Benjamin G Saxe. 

Swimming pool and pavilion at Naia retreat in Costa Rica

(Image credit: Andres Garcia Lachner)

Outdoor living area at Naia sustainable retreat in Costa Rica

(Image credit: Andres Garcia Lachner)

Pavilions united by single flat roof at Naia retreat in Costa Rica

(Image credit: Andres Garcia Lachner)

Outdoor/indoor living at Naia retreat in Costa Rica

(Image credit: Andres Garcia Lachner)

Lush green gardens and low pavilions at Naia retreat in Costa Rica

(Image credit: Andres Garcia Lachner)

Bedroom at Naia retreat in Costa Rica

(Image credit: Andres Garcia Lachner)

INFORMATION

studiosaxe.com

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture Editor at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018) and Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020).