Villa Serena
Villa Serena

Following a tumultuous year of Covid lockdowns and political instability, could building luxury homes in remote, scenic paradises become more popular? We speak to Roderick Anderson of Costa Rica-based SARCO Architects on the lure of high-end tropical “safe havens”.

There’s no doubt that during a year of uncertainty, lockdowns and a global pandemic, most people have dreamed of escaping in body and mind to a tropical paradise.

These unprecedented times are turning remote, luxury holiday homes into something more akin to a sanctuary and safe haven – to escape from harsh realities to some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.

Roderick Anderson, owner of SARCO Architects – the only multi award-winning design-build architecture company in Costa Rica – is optimistic that the events of 2020 could eventually prove beneficial to remote countries, like Costa Rica.

“With the current situation around COVID, and with the current political and social ambiance in the United States, I see a distinct growth in highnet-worth individuals deciding to own property abroad, either for part-time or to permanently move to a location where they can feel safe and away from “everything”,” says Roderick.

“The unquestionable natural beauty of Costa Rica’s coastlines provides an ideal setting for these individuals. Costa Rica is even blessed with having a strategic location that allows easy access from many international hubs and provides stability and confidence for international investors.

“In the luxury residence sector, I foresee an increase in the amount of people that will set their eyes on Costa Rica as an ideal destination to own a luxury second home, far away from large city living.”

SARCO Architects is a long-established and respected boutique family business based in San Jose that was founded in 1972 by Roderick’s father, Heubert. Roderick now runs the company with his wife, and both understand their clients’ refined and unique needs as they are both architects.

“At SARCO Architects, we help exclusive, high-net-worth international customers who want great design and attention to detail in their home in Costa Rica,” explains Roderick. “For our clients, discretion and privacy are especially important.

“We use technology, virtual reality and visuals, along with premium project management and constant communication to provide our clients with an easy and enjoyable design and construction experience for their luxury homes in paradise.

“We are famous for taking clients from thinking they won’t find a quality, truly professional architect, to building their new dream home easily from thousands of miles away. Our clients are exclusive individuals who demand the best quality and service for their projects.”

Projects are designed and built to exceed expectations with unique attention to detail using Building Information Modelling (BIM) and impeccable customer service. The 3D modelling is central to the company’s work, along with its SARCO System that is supported by 20 years of construction experience plus the knowledge and practicality of a Master Builder.

The company’s ethos revolves around better technology leading to better construction. Most of the homes SARCO Architects build are in Costa Rica’s coastal areas, such as Guanacaste. It means that proper design is essential to reduce energy consumption in these tropical locations.
The firm prides itself on building environmentally-responsible projects, paying careful attention to ecological features to protect the biodiversity and beautiful surroundings.

Architects even use 3D software to generate accurate energy consumption reports in the pre-construction phase. That’s because over 70% of the energy expense of a large home is driven by the architectural design.

“The home’s solar orientation, shading, size and location of windows, and specification of materials that keep the heat out are all design elements we optimise to reduce future energy costs and a home’s carbon footprint,” explains Roderick.

“We believe having the technology to measure a design’s efficiency before construction begins is essential to eco-friendly design.”

Villa Serena
Villa Serena

These techniques have helped SARCO Architect’s reputation to grow far and wide and it has clients based worldwide – from America and Canada to Panama, the Caribbean, Dubai and European countries, including Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the UK.

“For us, technology is at the core of what makes us tick”, adds Roderick. “First and foremost, we are experts in the application of BIM technology to each of our projects. While the AEC industry as a whole is still questioning if and when they should transition to BIM, we made this leap 18 years ago and are leaders in our field.

“I am an international speaker at BIM conferences in several countries in Latin America and in Germany as well, and most recently in virtual conferences. On top of this, we are always considering what technology applications and services we can consider, to make the experience we provide our clients as smooth and enjoyable as possible.

“The SARCO System™ was created to provide our clients with an incomparable experience – to provide the best in architectural design and building solutions for international clients.

“This System ensures that projects are designed and built to exceed expectations, with a unique attention to detail, and with straightforward and successful project development.

“We work hard to make sure our staff understands the level of service, quality, and customer service that I want my company to provide. My staff know the level of clients that we provide work for.

“Our ultimate goal is to create projects that are so enjoyable for our clients, they actually return and hire us again.”

It is exciting times for SARCO Architects as it prepares to see construction start on its largest and most luxurious residence so far. Work gets under way this year and will add to its extensive and prized portfolio.

For Roderick, he is not surprised that the investment in Costa Rican property continues to flourish as he knows only too well the beauty of his home country and the appeal that it will have to international visitors considering a second home on its shores – particularly after Covid.

“Costa Rica is a place where you will find natural greenery all over the country, with pristine, untouched nature reserves, tropical beaches, and intense biodiversity,” explains Roderick.

“Along our long coastlines, you will encounter hugely different microclimates, providing something for everyone. While mostly facing westward, the beaches in this area provide the most stunning “paintings” in the skyline with every awe-inspiring sunset.

“It’s a far cry from the noisy hustle and bustle of cities like New York as Costa Rica gives you the soothing sound of the waves on the beach, birds chirping and night-time wildlife giving their own evening concerts.”