Incredible home tears down the walls to embrace jungle living
A lot of houses are designed to blur the boundaries between inside and outside, but few commit to this idea quite like the Open Jungle House. The unique home doesn't have traditional walls or glazing, meaning its occupants are exposed to the elements – and all wildlife – in the Costa Rican jungle.
The idea for the Open Jungle House came about when architect Ksymena Borczynska went traveling to Costa Rica. She and her partner chose a nice plot and then set up a tent and spent a few months living in it to get to know the area properly. They then started building their home, taking what they'd learned living in the tent to inform the design.
The resulting structure has 150 sq m (1,600 sq ft) of floorspace and features a simple layout with a living area, kitchen, and dining area, as well as a bedroom, which has a mosquito net offering protection from creepy crawlies. There are multiple seating areas inside and out, and a little storage space too. Rainwater in the home is collected from the roof into a wooden gutter, supplying both an underground water tank and a small pool. Though it's not pictured, there's also a separate bathroom nearby, which has a similar open design but is topped by a thatched roof.
Structurally, the Open Jungle House consists of a lightweight corrugated roof supported by slender columns and beams made from a local semi-hardwood. The columns are anchored in small concrete foundations, while inside the house, the natural clay ground is simply covered with a layer of gravel, with wooden and concrete platforms placed on top of that. Curtains are installed to provide a degree of protection from the elements and surrounding trees help shade it.
According to Borczynska, the open design works very well for the area, where seismic activity and soil movement is common. It certainly looks like an amazing way to live, though while privacy shouldn't be too much of an issue given the rural location, the lack of modern home comforts like air-conditioning and heating even in Costa Rica's relatively mild climate, not to mention coming into contact with so many insects and other jungle wildlife, would make it a nonstarter for most people. Borczynska takes all of this in her stride, however.
"Living in this house means being in constant and intense contact with nature," she explained. "We can feel every change in light, wind, temperature, humidity; there is an endlessness of smells. We got to know all the animals which live around and in the house, their personalities, their habits. We are woken up by the songs of parrots and monkeys and the continuous, ever-changing melody goes on throughout the day.
"We have never had a bad experience with animals. We remove venomous snakes with the tongs and release them in the jungle. The customized, spacious mosquito net gives us the protection we need at night. And the very simple design of the house, with no hidden or multi-layered parts, allows us to see which creatures want to cohabit with us. And then to decide if we are up for it."
Source: Ksymena Borczynska