Rammed earth construction is an ancient building technique that occasionally sneaks into new structures. This old-meets-new ethos is embodied in twin villas nestled into a lush Costa Rica hillside near the Pacific Ocean.
Czech firm Formafatal chose rammed earth and other construction materials to withstand the area’s high humidity and heat. The designers hired Terra Compacta, a rammed earth specialist from Brazil, to train local workers in the construction process, as there weren’t local contractors with experience in the technique.
The villas’ floor plans, materials, and orientation toward the water may be the same, but the interiors are subtly different.
Jaspis Villa is organized around sandy shades, while Nefrit Villa is ruddier, with terracotta-colored concrete floors that reference the color of the local soil. According to a New Age-y statement from the architects, the homes are a visual and energetic reflection of yin and yang energy, respectively.
To keep the energy flowing, neither of the homes has interior doors, except for a sliding panel realized between the toilet and shower.
Concrete is a prominent indoor feature. Formafatal worked with Belgian design studio Bram Vander-Beke on some of the concrete solitaires, while the kitchen table, sink, shelving, bedside tables, and bench are all made from the material. Furniture, art, and objects of interest in both houses are sourced from around the world.