When architect William Hezmalhalch was asked to design a resort on 10 acres in the Costa Rican jungle, he pretty much had to throw out the standard list of building requirements. The client wanted a private “hang-out compound” that would be completely integrated with its tropical surroundings. That meant coming up with a sustainable design that could be built by ­local craftsmen, using materials that could stand up to harsh weather conditions.

Natural ventilation via sea breezes comes easily in five luxurious open-air bungalows marked by disappearing walls and adjoining open-sky bathrooms and showers. Wide open and yet utterly private, the low-slung structures are protected from the elements by green corrugated roofing with deep overhangs and connected to each other by flagstone walkways. The clubhouse, with views of the oceanfront pool and private beach, features a bar, lounge, and restaurant.

“This project was an adventure,” Hezmalhalch says. “It had to be a totally ­integrated solution without disturbing the site, something that lived indoor/outdoor under the jungle canopy. You have to be ­interactive with the environment. It was completely different from what we’re used to.”

CATEGORY: Resort or second-home community
ENTRANT/ARCHITECT/LAND PLANNER: William Hezmalhalch Architects, Santa Ana, Calif.
BUILDER/DEVELOPER: Florsheim Homes, Stockton, Calif.
LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: The Collaborative West, San Clemente, Calif.
INTERIOR DESIGNER: A Maison Interiors, Studio City, Calif.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Los Angeles, CA.