Shacks Beach Villa

Isabela, Puerto Rico

This master plan and garden design for a residential compound in coastal Puerto Rico creates open space, beach access, sustainable infrastructure systems, and streetscape in service of the site’s many agendas. The garden pathway system is based on an abstract study of sargasso seaweed, traversing the site from a shadowy, riverside mangrove forest to the bright and expansive ocean terraces.

The site infrastructure systems allow the property to function completely off the grid. Rainwater is harvested and filtered in tanks beneath the garden, providing potable water, while blackwater sewage is treated in a bio-garden and greywater is polished and re-used for irrigation. Passive and active solar systems reduce energy demand and supply electricity, respectively. On-site kitchen gardens and fruit trees are a daily part of the compound residents’ food supply.

Local Office worked with Puerto Rican artist Félix Bonilla Gerena to design custom entry gates. Planter boxes beside the bedroom terraces overflow with aromatic night-blooming flowers. Salvaged and transplanted mature trees humanize the scale of the buildings, while porous materials and terracing are used to seamlessly accommodate the compound’s significant surface parking needs.