Collection by Patrick Sisson

Who Knew a Relaxing Tropical Retreat Could Be Made of Shipping Containers

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This modern residence and gallery near San Jose, Costa Rica uses metal boxes like puzzle pieces to create a photographer's dream home.

Architect Maria Jose Trejos loves modern lines and clean shapes, so when photographer Sergio Pucci asked her to build him a live-work space on a 6,240-square-foot plot in Guachipelin, Escazú, San José, the suggestion to incorporate shipping containers seemed like a suitable choice. After sourcing four of the massive metal boxes from the country's busy Caribbean port, Trejos stacked and slid them like puzzle pieces, creating a sunken gallery space and spacious rooftop terrace. "Designing with containers amplifies what I really like," says Trejos. "In terms of versatility, good taste and modern architecture, this is how I love to design." Trejos gave Dwell a run-through of the tropical live-work space, explaining why the rectangular raw material actually helped her create a building that perfectly suits her client's needs.

Finished in 2013, the 3,660-square-foot Casa Incubo was built from stacking and sliding four shipping containers to...
Trejos finished the roof with artificial grass, creating a terrace perfect for dinner parties as well as morning yoga...
Trejos found that working with the containers was like playing with puzzle pieces.
The firepole is an extra amenity the client always wanted to include in his home.
The stacked containers and inner courtyard, which wrap around a cedar tree, allow for plenty of natural sunlight, which...
During construction, Trejos and her team had to trim part of the cedar tree.
Trejos incorporated a variety of reused and recycled material into the project, such as shipping pallet tables, beds...
Trejos positioned the containers about 60 centimeters above the ground floor, which gives the main gallery and...
Sliding bamboo panels on the west side of the house can be adjusted to provide shade during the later part of the day.
The slanted roof above the garage, painted white to reflect the heat in the tropical environment, also contains a solar...
The kitchen, decorated with many of Pucci's prints, features a table Trejos designed.
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