CIELOMAR is located in Peninsula Papagayo, a private luxury resort sanctuary that jots out into the Pacific Ocean in Costa Rica's north-west province of Guanacaste. With the Pacific Ocean to the west and a pond and world-class Arnold Palmer golf course to the east of the villa, the site design of the property focuses the views toward the ocean. The property faces the ocean from the vantage point of a promontory and cliff three hundred feet above sea level. This condition created opportunities for dramatic architecture, as well as presenting a serious structural challenge.
The villa is designed as a "bow and arrow", cut into the promontory overlooking Prieta Beach and the Pacific ocean. The house steps down the cliff toward the ocean, presenting a modest one-storey semi-circle form to the street and golf course, yet accommodating three floor levels on the ocean side. Organizing the levels downward and outward into the face of the cliff also presented the opportunity to cantilever the infinity-edge pool out over the edge of the terrace, creating the dramatic illusion of swimming three hundred feet above the ocean. A similar effect is created with a bridge or viewing platform that visually connects the upper level with the water, flying sixteen feet above the pool beyond the edge of the terrace. Standing at the end of the bridge gives one the impression of soaring above the jungle and the ocean. The bridge points to where the sun dips below the ocean horizon each evening, making the end of the bridge the best location for cocktail hour. The bridge also provides shade for part of the deck and the large outdoor dining table.
Placing the ninety-foot long pool cantilevered at the edge of the terrace satisfies the need for a barrier, so that the ocean view is unencumbered by a guardrail. The Olympic-size pool is lined with charcoal-black volcanic lava stone, imparting a deep blue color to the water. At times it is difficult to distinguish the edge of the pool from the blue Pacific Ocean beyond.