Residential Complex Isla Canales de Tierra
Veraguas Province, Panama
Liquid Jungle Labs (LJL) initiated its operations on Isla Canales de Tierra, off the Pacific coast of Panama in 2004. This private laboratory was created with the intention of providing cutting edge field research facilities to scientists interested in studying the complex interdependencies of species in tropical America, both in marine and terrestrial environments. The laboratory is an example of an ecologically sensitive architecture that attempts to reduce its impact on the pristine environment in which it is located. A combination of photovoltaic arrays, solar hot water heating systems, high end waste treatment systems, an active recycling program and an extensive organic farm on the mainland are some of the initiatives LJL has initiated with the objective of living in an exemplary manner with nature.
ESSA was contracted by LJL in 2004 to collaborate with architect Marco Zanini, founding associate in the firm Ettore Sotsass and Associates, based in Milan, Italy, on the design of a vast residential complex comprising some 6,000 m2 on the top of the hill that dominates the island. This residential complex consists of an assemblage of partially buried structures that project out from the hillside, including a principal residential compound consisting of two structures with reception rooms, office, heliport, cinema and principal bedroom, three guest residences, a central kitchen, laundry and staff quarters, garage, storage, gymnasium and salt and fresh water swimming pools. The residential and kitchen structures have been located on the hillside and have been provided with green roofs. In this manner these structures are practically invisible from the principal residence above, since they are in effect garden terraces that allow panoramic views of the surrounding ocean and mountains on the mainland.