Architecture in Costa Rica

Now that the property search is well underway I have begun researching and dreaming about the house we will build. I have saved dozens of potential floor plans and many photos of houses I like.

Living in the tropics means there is no need for insulation against cold, heating or in many cases air conditioning. Houses need to withstand frequent earthquakes, torrential rain, intense sun and be protected from insects and critters. Every where we go I observe the different construction techniques.

We have been to the "Beverly Hills" parts of Costa Rica where many of the homes look like ones in California. The estates are large and difficult to see behind the security walls and gates. The photo of this pink house isn't of mansion proportions nor is it in an upscale neighborhood, but it looks clean and well cared for. We saw this house on our walk back from the University for Peace. Behind the white metal fence is a one level house probably made from cinder block construction.

Mansions are not the norm here. Most people have modest, small houses. Prefab concrete panels and cinder block construction are most common. Here is a picture taken of a colorful house not far from where we live. Like most homes in the city it is located near the front of the lot and is enclosed with fencing and gates.

This photo is of a house in the countryside. It lacks the security fencing and is spaced far from the neighbors. The most common type of roofing material is corrugated metal. It's cheap, long lasting, easy to maintain and recyclable. Drawbacks are extreme noise during rain and if not insulated to reflect heat it can make the interior of the house uncomfortably hot.

This is a residential street in Ciudad Colon. Note the miss-mash of construction and gates and fences protecting the property. This is typical of what I have seen so far in urban neighborhoods.

This is a house up the street from ours. A scrap metal business is operated at this location. It took me a while to realize that people also live there. The house is made of various pieces of metal and wood. Boards of wood cover most of the window openings.

Here is a picture of a house extension done entirely in metal. It must be hot in there!

This is a photo of a shelter we saw adjacent to one of the properties we looked at. It's made simply out of wood and metal. No one lived in this house but I wouldn't be surprised if it was construction in process for future habitation.