A-01 completes the 'no footprint house' amid the humid, tropical climate of costa rica

A-01 completes the 'no footprint house' amid the humid, tropical climate of costa rica

architecture practice A-01 sites the no footprint house (NFH) along the tropical, southern pacific coast of costa rica. situated in a humid climate, the performative building is responsive to its surroundings by passive climate control with natural ventilation and solar shading. the program is organized around a centralized service core which compresses all utilities in one compact unit, enabling an open floor plan around it. free-standing furniture pieces are positioned within the double-layered envelope of the building which is generated by the vertical structural columns and the inclined outer skin. this inclination, together with operable panels, serves as a response to the penetrating sunlight during the hottest hours of the day. while these panels regulate ventilation and views, they further transform the interior to exterior spaces and play with the indoor-outdoor dynamic of tropical architecture.

A-01 no footprint house
all images by fernando alda



the no footprint house is designed by A-01 (a company / a foundation), a practice based in both costa rica and the netherlands. built with a floating steel structure and expressive wooden finishes, the house is plugged into a public service grid powered by renewable energies. only water is heated in site through solar power which is harvested on the roof of the building. the house was prefabricated in the central valley of costa rica and shipped to the target site overnight on one single truck. it had been developed as a prototype for serial production, which is based on a larger toolbox of residential typologies. each typology is configured from a catalogue of prefabricated components, the first of its kind in central america.

A-01 no footprint house



in its initial phase, the no footprint house will come in three different sizes which can be configured with regards to material finishes and the desired level of services. this series of configurations, which will be available as of next year, is to be offered at a range from ‘tiny’ with a floor area of 36 square meters, to ‘midsize’ at 81 square meters, and ‘family home’ at 108 square meters. a fully self-sufficient configuration is possible for entirely off-grid locations. the offer responds to the local market requirements, providing both affordable and sustainable homes for individuals as well as families of any size, while each building typology can be assembled, disassembled and reassembled anywhere. the project was developed in response to the concept of nomadic and adaptable lifestyle, envisioned with a maximum amount of flexibility through design. it is designed to integrate with its natural surroundings and to minimize the impact of construction on the environment.

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UPDATE: this project has been shortlisted in the ‘completed buildings – villa’ category at the 2019 world architecture festival.



project info:


project title: no footprint house

architecture: A-01 (a company / a foundation)

location: ojochal, costa rica

lead architect: oliver schütte

team: josé pablo gonzález, mauricio rodríguez, misael rodríguez, ronald carvajal soto

MEP engineering: consost S.A. / pablo mora

structural design: ingeniería cañas S.A. / rafael cañas

construction: SLO studiolocal / hernán mora

marketing: luuc van wezel

photography: fernando alda

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