“The Dillon house is exactly the opposite of the architecture that is found today in the large developments and vacation sites of the country: it is not heavy, nor closed, nor monumental, but rather exceptionally light and open.”
Dr. Eduardo Tejeira -
This 300m2 experimental residence is located on a promontory on the Pacific coast of the Province of Veraguas on a 30 hectare site where a process of reconstruction of the ecosystem, heavily impacted by the previous owners, has been underway for over ten years. Initiated in 1997, the house is a sort of laboratory where we have experimented with space planning and unconventional building materials to minimize the physical boundaries between inhabited spaces and their natural surroundings. The house’s form has been determined to a large degree by the need to pre-fabricate major building components off site, to capture rain water for domestic use and by the impacts generated by natural events such as rainstorms and prevailing seasonal winds which affect the site at different times of the year. The construction process is open ended, with no pre-established completion date.
Other than a relatively conventional steel structure which was fabricated off-site and transported by truck, boat and horseback to the site, where it was assembled by local residents, the house employs corrugated fibreglass panels in the sliding walls, bubble insulation paper, exposed plaster mesh, construction security net, recycled fish net for an oversized “ceiling hammock” and shade cloth commonly used in the construction of greenhouses. Recycled wood retrieved from demolished Canal Zone houses has been used to build a series of decks that extend out from the house to create vantage points form which to enjoy contemplative views of the surrounding land and seascapes and to forge a physical relationship with the void.
Over a period of ten years the house has evolved spatially along the ridgeline that it occupies to include a rainwater collection pool, gardens and walkways that lead to satellite structures interspersed around the site. One of these, a “tree house” for the architect’s children, has been located within a teak plantation, with four trees serving as the main structure for the building that was built with recycled lumber, galvanized purlins and aluminum roofing, monofilament fish net, rope and saplings from a fast growing local native tree species.