At Rancho Mastatal we have been building sustainable homes from natural materials in the tropics for over 15 years. In this time we have tried many different styles, building materials, and designs. We would like to share with you our opinion for the best natural and sustainable home design for the tropics.
Climate change, after decades of lulling at the bottom of the news cycle, has belatedly made it into the headlines as increasing numbers of people become aware, convinced and concerned about the environmental and social impacts of the Earth’s evolving atmospheric conditions. I frequently think about disrupted weather patterns and what my role in this unfolding story should be.
Nearly a decade ago I moved to where I live now-- a tiny, isolated, town in rural Latin America. Its charms include lush towers of tropical rain forest, rainbows of succulent fruits, and a nightly chorus of a thousand frogs. A single disheveled bus leaves in the morning and returns at night, except on Sundays, or when the road washes out. The place is home to farmers, families, and a spattering of eclectic foreigners. The town's namesake, the Mastate, is a tree that bears a thick white sap which people sometimes drink in coffee, like milk.
The rainforests of Central America might not be the first place that you think of when you hear the term “timber frame construction”, but with initiatives in Monteverde and Mastatal, Costa Rica is starting to make a name for itself in the region for this post and beam building technique. We started to build the infrastructure of Rancho Mastatal Sustainability Education Center in the small rural community of Mastatal, Costa Rica in 2001.
In the natural building world at Rancho Mastatal there is no lack of projects to be done. I think as a team we have collected a list that will take us past 2020. And we already have been building our infrastructure for the past 16 years. One could say we are natural building addicts!