tom kundig builds surfers treehouse using local teak wood in costa rica

tom kundig builds surfers treehouse using local teak wood in costa rica

olson kundig principal, tom kundig has completed a surfers treehouse in a densely forested site on the pacific coast of costa rica. built entirely of teak wood harvested on-site, the three-floor retreat is nestled within the jungle, with only its top level rising above the tree canopy, offering views of the surf at nearby playa hermosa beach.

tom kundig builds surfers treehouse using local teak wood in costa ricaall images by nic lehoux



‘the project has a relatively light, natural footprint on the landscape, both in terms of the site itself, but also in using available local materials that are helping advance the next level of environmental stewardship in costa rica,’ explains tom kundig, who developed the project for a couple of surfers and avid environmentalists. designed as an open-air surfer hut, the treehouse invites the surrounding landscape to enter its interiors  in various ways, from the vegetation accessible just off the main floor, to the larger weather and surf patterns one can experience on the top level. ‘the project has an intentionally small footprint and is quite tall – this allowed us to maintain a light influence on the site while engaging with the natural landscape in different ways on all three levels of the house,’ kundig adds.



the house is designed to operate passively, and remain open to the climate in this temperate semi-tropic environment. its top and bottom floors are completely open to the elements with a double-screen operable wood shutter system, allowing daylight and natural ventilation, but also privacy and security when the owners are away. shading, a 3.5-kw photovoltaic array, and a rainwater collection system make the house’s compact footprint even lighter on the land.

tom kundig builds surfers treehouse using local teak wood in costa rica

tom kundig builds surfers treehouse using local teak wood in costa rica  



project info:


name: costa rica treehouse

architect: tom kundig, design principal olson kundig

location: santa teresa, costa rica

size: 2,140 sf (not including decks which are 624 sf)

building footprint: 1,005 sf.

design principal and project manager: kevin kudo-king

project architect: martina bendel

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

architecture news

keep up with our daily and weekly stories
493,010 subscribers
- see sample
- see sample