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Casa Kiké by Gianni Botsford Architects, Cahuita, Costa Rica

[RUNNER-UP AR HOUSE 2010] Two pavilions provide rooms for the clients key pursuits: sleeping and writing. Photography by Christian Richters

Situated on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica, Casa Kiké (AR November 2007) was designed by London-based architect Gianni Botsford for his father, a writer with 17,000 or so books, and was built for less than £60,000.

Working in collaboration with engineer Toby Maclean of Tall Engineers, the house’s twin pavilions are similar but not identical, each allowing their triangulated laurel frames to bring a distinctive tectonic quality to their interior. In relation to the landscape, the client did not want to disturb any of the trees in the garden. So the stilted pavilions, which share a geometry based on a 22° parallelogram, were placed snugly between them.

Working in combination with the client’s existing house on site, where the kitchen remains and where space was subsequently given over for guest accommodation, the two pavilions simply provide rooms for the client’s key pursuits: sleeping and writing. As single volume spaces, open at either end and linked by a raised deck, Botsford’s father can now move from bed to writing desk while enjoying the intimate company of the landscape, with the bedroom addressing the jungle and the writing studio the sea.

Despite being familiar to the judges - Casa Kiké won both an RIBA International Award and the Lubetkin Prize in 2008 - they could not deny that this project spoke of domesticity and habitation perhaps more than any other in contention for a prize, with the structure and skin providing the ideal setting for this client in this place.

Architect Gianni Botsford Architects, London, UK
Structural engineer Tall Engineers

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