Casa Incubo is an earth friendly prefabricated home that employs a variety of sustainable features – including 8 shipping containers that form its 2-story footprint. Designed by Maria Jose Trejos, the home was created as a place to converge all types of creativity whether working, playing or sleeping – because after all the best dreams are the creative ones.
Aside from incorporating sustainable features within its structure, the home has also been designed around the natural landscape, keeping a large cedar tree and turning it into a focal point of the home. The tree can be seen from any vantage point within the home.
Taking a cue from the cedar tree’s bark, Casa Incubo features an operable, naturally patina’d bamboo shade screen on its northeastern facade. Aside from creating a natural and organic aesthetic, the bamboo also protects the interior zones from the heat and solar exposure of the summer sun.
A steel framework creates a faux entrance to the carport, which appears to back onto a garage, but actually backs onto a garage door that opens to the double volume living room.
A large overhang on the roof keeps the living room shaded during the heat of the summer months while the various openings continue the cooling effect by via cross ventilation, eliminating the need for air conditioning while the large whiteboards glass areas let plenty of natural sunlight into the home, reducing the need for electrical lighting.
Inside the house, the living room is large and spacious and features a fun bohemian vibe within the seating. While in direct contrast to the industrial aesthetic of the shipping containers, the two styles meld and merge in a sublime, cozy and oh so beautiful vignette.
While the garage door creates an immediate indoor/outdoor connection, there is also a regular entry door on the side for those days the owners prefer a more private lifestyle. Opposite the entry way and on the second level, a home office is positioned on the mezzanine.
At the back of the home a floor to ceiling wall of glazings keeps the backyard cedar tree in full view of the social zone – as well as the upstairs home office. What is a subtle but clever homage to the tree is the staircase, which has been built using wood from several of the tree’s removed branches.
The cedar tree stairwell slices angularly across the opening to another section of the home contained within a different shipping container module. Here, the opening exposes a gallery room with some of the owner’s art collection.
What a beautiful space to exhibit, view and refresh in. How could one not be immersed in creative thought after spending some time here? Designed as a gallery space, the room is fitted with a lit rail system that the art is suspended from. The cables that hold the art can be adjusted to accommodate new pieces no mater what size – as long as they fit within the allocated space.
Also overlooking the cedar tree is the dining room. Here a stunning table with a steel top and legs also made from wood from the cedar tree takes center stage. With views of the tree and the art gallery as well as that fierce looking living room, the space has a strong artsy vibe that is completely complimented by the sustainable aspects of reusing the cedar wood, building the deck out of wood from certified renewable sources mixed with plastics, a floor of polished concrete and bamboo, and of course the shipping containers themselves.
The dining room backs onto the kitchen, which with the exception of the eating bar has been fitted with white cabinetry to quietly blend into its surround, allowing the dining table, the gallery wall and the garden to be at the visual forefront.
All three areas of the social zone easily access the garden and its unusually shaped deck, which takes on an angular profile to accommodate the cedar tree.
The deck ends where the private gallery begins. Here, too, the home accommodates easy access to the outdoors with a sliding glass door. Even the upstairs has outdoor areas via an outdoor walkway that is accessed from and extends along the mezzanine at the top of the stairs and the exterior footprint of the home.
One of the upper level shipping containers was shifted slightly to allow for this amazing exterior catwalk. It’s a clever concept that seamlessly integrates an outdoor zone with the interior spaces.
Whether choosing the exterior catwalk or the interior hallway, the view of the cedar tree is ever prevalent.
The mezzanine wraps around the upstairs before finally arriving at the home office above the living room.
It’s a fun, sustainable, atypical design that includes a rainwater collection system, solar panels, container doors, LED lighting and the previously mentioned earth friendly features to create a home that reduced construction time and building costs by 20%, in fact the whole structure and gray work was assembled in one day. Aside from the building savings, there is also a reduction of CO2 emissions due to the reduced amount and type of building materials required for a traditionally built structure that can operate as home, office, studio, gallery and even event venue. Gotta love a good design and we love this one.
by architect Maria Jose Trejos
Photography by Sergio Pucci