House in El Cope
Cocle Province, Panama
The architect and clients had spent many weekends camping on this seven hectare property and in repeated fireside conversations had imagined ways in which a house might be integrated into their hillside camp site. Having shared many hours enjoying spectacular views of mountains directly in front of the site to the north, east and south of their vantage point, it was quickly decided that the house should be developed linearly along the contours of the hill, with an orientation towards the primary views out to the mountains.
In this manner, the 350m2 “S”- shaped, single level house is comprised of two wings, with the master bedroom suite and three guest bedrooms located to the north of the main entrance, and the kitchen, living/dining areas and three outdoor cantilevered viewing decks located to the south. This main entrance into the house is a covered passageway aligned with the valley to the east of the house that frames views to the mountains which will be mirrored in the reflecting pool that occupies most of this space. A narrow wooden plank bridge spans this reflecting pool.
Sustainability was an important goal in the design of the house from the outset of the design process. Thus the house employs recycled lumber in the facades, windows and doors, and recycled steel in parts of the structural frame. In addition, the elongated and narrow shape of the house allows natural cross ventilation throughout, while the large viewing decks allow for comfortable outdoor living.