Patrick Dillon’s SaLo House Is An Off-grid Forest Dwelling Overlooking The Pacific Ocean

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Architect Patrick Dillon created this sustainable residence on a forested hilltop in Panama from salvaged components that had to be brought to the site by boat and horseback .

SaLo House by Patrick Dillon

The undertaking to layout and build the SaLo Home, which is named soon after its place near the tip of Punta de San Lorenzo, began in 1997 when Dillon was doing work on the construction of a bridge over the San Pablo River in southwestern Panama.

SaLo House by Patrick Dillon

The architect spent his weekends surfing at nearby Santa Catalina and determined it would be the best area to create an idyllic off-grid home.

SaLo House by Patrick Dillon

“I was sitting out in the break 1 summer time evening admiring a spectacular sunset and it occurred to me that I need to search for some land to create a home on,” Dillon told Dezeen. “The up coming day I rented a boat and drove up the coast. That was the commence of a 5-year approach of acquiring land and building the house.”

SaLo House by Patrick Dillon

Dillon settled on a hilltop website that had been devastated by slash-and-burn farming and was only available by land for the duration of the dry season. This prompted him to construct the residence from light-weight materials that had been transported by boat and then carried up the hillside by hand or with the assist of horses.

SaLo House by Patrick Dillon

Most of the resources utilized in the house were salvaged from the bridge undertaking, including steel channels that have been bolted together on website to make beam sections for the arching roof framework. A similarly lower-influence house built in an Ecuadorian rainforest employs locally sourced bamboo for its structural framework.


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Galvanised metal purlins that span the spaces among the beams assistance a corrugated steel roof. The roof arcs upwards to the north and south from its lowest level, and is made to funnel prevailing winds from either path through the interior to act as natural ventilation.

SaLo House by Patrick Dillon

Other unusual building materials employed in the task include corrugated fibreglass panels utilised for the sliding walls and surfaces created from galvanised lath covered in plaster. The flooring is mainly recycled stress-taken care of pine or Douglas fir that was salvaged from demolished homes in the region.

SaLo House by Patrick Dillon

A crucial aspect of the project was the revival of the site’s natural ecosystem, which had been ruined by the unregulated agricultural activity. Random planting and the introduction of an open-air cistern filled with captured rainwater were launched to support the site’s gradual rejuvenation.

SaLo House by Patrick Dillon

“All we had to do to make it far more liveable was plant trees and shrubs and let Mother Nature take her program,” Dillon mentioned. “Once we had the cistern built we seasoned an explosion of daily life trees and plants, birds, frogs, iguanas, monkeys, deer – almost everything that had been hunted to close to extinction came back.”

SaLo House by Patrick Dillon

The rainwater cistern also functions as a swimming pool and the water stored within it and in a series of other tanks is employed for kitchen cleansing and bathrooms. Solar panels generate electrical power that is stored in batteries and used to electrical power lighting, followers, computers and other electronic products.

SaLo House by Patrick Dillon

Virtually 20 many years on from the project’s initiation, the building and its environs are continually evolving as the architect makes gradual enhancements and the organic ecosystem reestablishes itself.

SaLo House by Patrick Dillon

“The spot has grown previous gracefully, as I believe architecture should,” mentioned Dillon. “The most remarkable modify has been wrought by Mama Nature. Whereas the property originally sat on that burned-out knob, it is now buried deep inside a amazing hilltop forest teeming with daily life.”

SaLo House by Patrick Dillon

Dillon and his family at present only visit the residence at weekends, but he ideas to initiate a workshop for visiting architecture and science students that would see new structures erected on the 50-hectare site to facilitate analysis tasks.

SaLo House by Patrick Dillon

The intention is to function with architects and scientists to market sustainable building techniques and the study of different facets of the neighborhood surroundings, such as its geology and marine daily life, alongside the indigenous population.

SaLo House by Patrick Dillon

“Although we have a great deal to share with [the nearby communities], they also have a good deal to share with us and we feel that it truly is with this kind of collaborative effort that we can really commence to make essential alterations in the planet, beginning with our minor corner of it,” Dillon additional.

SaLo House by Patrick Dillon

Photography is by Fernando Alda.

SaLo House by Patrick Dillon Strategy SaLo House by Patrick Dillon Part one SaLo House by Patrick Dillon Part two Dezeen

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