finca bellavista: a sustainable treehouse community, costa rica
finca bellavista: a sustainable treehouse community, costa rica finca bellavista: a sustainable treehouse community, costa rica
may 22, 2013

finca bellavista: a sustainable treehouse community, costa rica

finca bellavista: a sustainable tree forest community, costa rica

image © anders birch

all images courtesy of finca bellavista



it’s has been seven years to the day since the finca bellavista founders mateo and erica hogan first visited the property that was to become their
off-the-grid home high in the costa rican rainforest canopy. the idea of creating a veritable self-sustaining community was borne as a way to make the 62
acre site more possible to acquire as well as fully integrate the built form into the landscape. the cluster of treetop structures hovers near the edge of
the picturesque whitewater rio bellavista, surrounded by the emerald to yellow-green foliage of paradise. the whole of the property is now a 600 acre
complex connected by ziplines and suspension bridges. the core team lives and works on the property while myriad transient residences and guests
enjoy the paradisaical surroundings temporarily. the ‘finca’, or farm, is part of a eco-minded nonprofit adventure hotels of costa rica; however, the
treetop town remains among the few untouched environments in the country.


while the nearest town is 1.5 miles away, the community is self-sustaining, complete with a dining hall, open-air lounge, a ranch, bathhouse,
campfire ring and wedding garden. the complex continues to grow and breathe a different sense of life into the forest with few treehouses in
various construction stages thereby contributing to the world’s first planned, contemporary, sustainable treehouse community. each resident is
required to purchase and use a biodigester, which generates electricity and heat with a waste-to-energy process, and the architecture is optimized
to make the most of cross-ventilation, passive natural lighting and responsible building systems. the burgeoning neighborhood attracts like-minded
people, committed to conservation and willing to be subtle participants in the overarching balance of the yet-unperturbed ecosystem. as the
diaphanous water cuts through the property and the presence of immeasurable life forms teems around the dwellings, the the built form,
as it both presides and latches on to the architecture of the earth, proves that the delicate exchange between man and nature is not just possible,
but is rather the most exuberant way to interact with the world.




an interview with the founders and some guests, with some picturesque views of the rainforest

video © finca bellavista



one of the homes in the emerald context

image © finca bellavista



view from the forest floor

image © silke gondolf



homes are complex spaces that wrap around the natural architecture of trees

image © anders birch



view of one house from the interior of another

image © geoff gillstrom



as the community grows, the building typologies change

image © finca bellavista



view of a more axially planned structure with ample ground floor area

image © finca bellavista



(left): view of the main suspension bridge
image © bourne photography

(right): view down at the layered spaces of a home

image © finca bellavista



wraparound decks help ventilate the home while making the most of the surreal surroundings

image © tim hussin



the ‘fince’ is equipped with a generous wooden dining hall

image © bourne photography



bedrooms invite and reflect the surrounding rainforest

image © anders birch



two different home and guest house typologies

image © finca bellavista



interior view of bedroom with live-edge paneling and a plethora of richly grained wood planes

image © bourne photography



night views show the inherently luxuriant material in warm yellow light

image © tim hussin



night view of the ranch

image © allison shelley


  • Looks great. I hope they are hiring locals, and if they are immediately suitable for the needed work, training and educating them. Sustainability is more than just being ecologically sensitive.

    By the way, what does this mean: “diaphanous water cuts through the property.” Are you trying to say mist or fog or humidity, all of which are abundant in the rain forest?

    Mort d'Urban says:

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