Young projects tops its ‘casa las olas’ retreat house with an undulating roof

Bird’s Eye View


located on a lush, previously undeveloped site in playa grande in the dominican republic, the retreat house or ‘casa las olas,’ designed by new york-based architecture studio young projects, sits at the cusp of a dense jungle on one side, and a pristine beach on the other. the 20,000-square-foot vacation home is designed to take advantage of both faces of the property, drawing inspiration from the rich natural landscape and the owners’ interest in hosting large groups of family and friends for retreats focused on wellness and creative exchange.

Bird’s Eye View


the retreat house by young projects (see more here) is the hub of a deep, ocean-facing 4.5 acre compound, which also features two guest homes, a yoga pavilion, and a structure for relaxation adjacent to the beach. all structures and interiors are designed by young projects, with softly meandering pathways connecting each. “these carefully choreographed promenades preserve the natural environment of the site, subtly restructuring the landscape at key moments to transform the wild jungle into habitable space,” says young projects principal bryan young.


the retreat house marks the second collaboration between young and his clients, a couple based primarily in new york. previously, bryan young and the couple worked together on a triplex apartment in downtown manhattan. for the dominican republic residence, the clients envisioned a refuge from city life where serene, private spaces for contemplation coexist seamlessly alongside communal areas for creative exchange and entertainment.

the wife is a documentary film producer, meditation author, and yogi, and is currently developing a VR application for meditation, while the husband is a tech investor and film producer. both are passionate philanthropists and arts patrons with a large, like-minded community who they will entertain at the retreat. visitors arrive at young projects’ retreat house by way of a narrow road that meanders through tropical gardens, and approach the building on a travertine and gravel footpath. the open-air entrance, lined in weathered ipe, leads under the home and up travertine steps into a breezy central courtyard. there, framed views of the ocean and horizon are revealed, eliciting a sense of arrival. young describes the ascent as ‘a moment of compression releasing into the courtyard, and dramatic reveal of the postcard view of the ocean and horizon.’

Bird’s Eye View


in essence, the retreat house is a courtyard parti, where indoor rooms form a ring encircling the central courtyard, which spills dramatically onto the beach at the property’s front. the ring shifts and molds around the site’s most spectacular natural elements, including an age-old tree covered with vines, bromeliads, and other symbiotic species situated at the courtyard’s center. a sunken seating area at the base of this tree offers space for intimate gatherings or breakfast in the dappled morning light.

the jungle canopy becomes another architectural guideline for the home: its roof nearly grazes the canopy’s lower leaves but does not disrupt them. the roof is a defining element of the residence. constructed from 160 exposed scissor trusses which change shape and rotate, it undulates across the top of the home, accentuating the residence’s semi-circular form and the panoramic experience of the site. the wife has compared the animated roof geometry to yoga positions.


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