Casa Incubo is a modern home designed by architect Maria Jose Trejos, located in Costa Rica. It was built using eight shipping containers and this fact alone is enough to let us put it on our eco-friendly and sustainable buildings list.
The house was built around a large cedar tree which existed on the site. Rather than cutting down the tree, the designer chose to incorporate it in the design and transform it into an icon of sustainability.
Because the structure serves both as a home and as a workplace for the owner, a professional photographer, the interior had to feature a flexible design and layout. It’s why there’s a large open space on the ground floor which can serve either as a social area, a study or an exhibition space.
The space can be adjusted and reorganized according to the owner’s needs. It was designed in such a way that reconfiguration is easy. In addition, this is a double height space with plenty of natural light, which is exactly what the owner needed.
On the other side of the ground floor there is another social area that includes the kitchen and the dining room. It’s a continuous space with a fluid and open design. Some of branches of the cedar tree were cut and used to make those unique legs for the dining table.
The kitchen is white except for the wooden breakfast bar. It has an L-shape structure and maintains the continuity of the design with its simple look. From here there’s direct access to the outdoor area.
The second floor features a strategically placed container that allowed a porch and a terrace to be created. The third floor has a rooftop garden, ideal for relaxation and get-togethers.
Underneath the terrace is a porch surrounded by flexible bamboo panels designed to offer privacy and to stop the sunlight from getting in if desired.
The whole structure and design emphasize openness, especially when viewed from the upper floor spaces. The large cedar tree guards and grounds the house.
The container house also has a playful side. One can slide down a steel bar to go from the first floor to the ground level.
Because the house is built using shipping containers, it can’t be helped that it has a strong industrial look. But the harsh lines are softened by the modern design and the way everything was perfectly planned and organized.
Apart from the fact that it’s surrounded by nature and built of containers, the house shows its sustainability through other methods as well. A roof harvests rainwater and keeps the interior cool and cross-ventilation allows a pleasant ambiance to be maintained throughout the year. Natural light reduces energy consumption.