For some time now we've been slowly but surely working on a casita design for a small beach community in Nicaragua. Actually we've been working on a few designs for the same little development, casaMOD. Located a kilometer from the sleepy surf/fishing village of Playa Gigante, and sharing the amenities of Hotel Brio on the same property, the casaMOD development seeks to provide hip modern accommodations for the discerning Central American beach goer. To that end the nicaMOD design seeks to provide just the sort of relaxed space that any adventurous surfer or fisherman would love to retreat to.
Uphill driveway access leads to a glazed entry and stair core, saddled with a stucco and wood clad two story wall of storage closets on one side (for that collection of short and longboards, as well as secure storage when the casita is unoccupied or placed in the rental pool) and the massive stucco endwall of the greatroom on the other. Across the stairs from the entry is a fully glazed wall offering a glimpse out across the bay and the village below. Immediately through one of the twin portals of the thick stucco wall one enters a minimal and concrete-floored greatroom with a simple tiled galley kitchen and a tight fully-tiled half-bath projecting out towards the entryside, an angled woodclad window seat looking out over the surfbreaks at the other end of the bay, and a plywood clad inverted truss ceiling spanning between the two stucco endwalls and projecting out to cover a double height patio accessible through double sliding glass doors.
Heading down the steel and wood decked stairs and back through the thick stucco wall brings you to the downstairs hallway, with an exposed concrete retaining wall on one side and a woodclad bathroom core on the other. Windows at the ends of the hallway look into sheltered planting areas nestled between the foundation and the slope of the hill and provide much needed soft natural light to the hallway effectively buried in the slope of the hill. Twin fully mosaic-tiled bathrooms (one of which has a floor to ceiling window at the endwall of the shower,) accessible from the hallway and housed in the wood-clad core, provide a warm material counterpoint to the exposed concrete ceiling, stucco wall, polished concrete floor, and floor to ceiling sliding glass doors that overlook the downstairs patio.
With a fully glazed western facing wall, the downhill aspect allows amazing views out over the bays and associated surf breaks, as well as the stony landmark of the Pie de Gigante. The projecting exterior patio of the livingroom above shades the downstairs patio, and offers up a sheltered outdoor space to the bedrooms. A lower door off the staircore allows downhill access to paths that lead down to the pool and restaurant of the development. A simple material palette of white stucco structural walls, galvalum roofing, floor to ceiling glass, and wood clad projecting spaces coupled with the simple shedroof massing, create an almot Platonic solid for the everpresent sunlight and shadows to dance across, without trying to compete with the lush tropical views. A surfer's paradise indeed.