In March 2004, Architectural Digest published a seven-page story on the then brand-new Four Seasons Costa Rica, a luxe resort tucked amid the dry tropical forest of Peninsula Papagayo, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. “I didn’t want to compete with nature,” the resort’s architect, Ronald Zürcher, told AD at the time. “If you’re over there, looking this way, you don’t see our hotel at all – it’s camouflaged.” A sculptural cluster of buildings, the resort took its cues from natural forms, with round structures inspired by the area’s abundant turtles and arched rooflines that mimicked the backs of armadillos. The shade of brown paint chosen for exterior walls, meanwhile, was based on a sample of local dirt, which Zürcher sent off to a lab to be matched. “I didn’t want this project to look like one in Bali, Japan, or Mexico,” he said. “So I studied very deeply to see what being Costa Rican means.”
One of the property’s ocean-view pools.