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Maria José Trejos – Containers house

In costa rica, eight shipping containers compose ‘casa incubo’ designed by architect maria josé trejos. the residence is not only surrounded by the nature of the country, but also surrounds it as the structure encloses a large cedar tree. this feature represents the encompassing idea of the project as an icon of sustainability. by reusing transport objects, costs were minimized and the completion time was shortened by 20%. the impact on the environment and generation of CO2 were also reduced, as the details of the house make the most of the climatic elements. the central module, with its double height space, acts as a lung with crossed ventilation and the west façade is glazed to let in natural light so that during the daytime it is unnecessary to use electric fixtures.



the home must also be used as a workplace for the owner, a professional photographer, who needs open spaces with a sufficient amount of light; a space that coincides with the ‘work and play’ philosophy while aiding creativity. a central 95m² area that can be used both for professional and personal purposes was formed by interconnecting and superposing containers. ‘the house dresses and undresses according to what you want to use it for,’ explains the architect, ‘be it a living room, an audiovisual space, a photographic or advertising studio.’



the first floor acts as an area for social activities, with a volume to the right of the main living room that provides a photo gallery. to the left, several other pieces present an office, dining room, and kitchen that open towards a patio that presided by a cedar tree. so as to not break the continuity of the kitchen, it was fitted with the line-L in white from the spanish kitchen manufacturer santos, a quartz tabletop, and a breakfast bar made with wood.




on the second floor, one of the containers has been strategically placed to create a terrace on top and a porch below. inside are the private spaces of the bedrooms and a studio. from here, an outdoor pathway that leads to the stairs and the rooftop garden on the third floor that can be used as a sun deck for relaxation.


it is possible to go from the first floor to the ground floor by sliding down an original steel bar


the third floor has a rooftop garden


the northwest façade is covered with moveable bamboo panels designed to protect the interior spaces from the sunlight


the house surrounds a cedar tree


the use of containers for the construction gives the design a striking contrast


project info:

name: casa incubo (incubo house)
location: escazú, san josé, costa rica
completed: september 2012 – february 2013
site area: 544,97 m2
built area: 400m2
architect: maria josé trejos
structural engineer: mauricio carranza of AESA ingenieros consultores
electromechanical design: sergio gonzález rodríguez
lighting design: estudio 27
interior design: maría josé trejos and sergio pucci
photography: sergio pucci ( )
collaborating companies: santos costa rica (kitchen), extralum (windows), sonus (audiovisual equipment), bambú y maderas S.A (bamboo floors), bambutico (moveable bamboo panels)

photo © sergio pucci
all images courtesy of maria josé trejos

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