It is not only feasible, it can be far more economical than building a conventional home. Alright…First, when your average daily temperature is uncomfortably high, you do not want to build with massive materials which will only make it hot and miserable 24 hours a day, instead of just in the afternoon. For hot humid climates there are two approaches which work relatively well. One is to earth couple the house, by berming, slab floor, and even an earth roof. If your ground temperature is comfortable, this will bring down your house temperature. The big problem is that it can present surface temperatures that are below the dewpoint of the humid air, so the moisture condenses out, and forms a perfect environment for mold, fungus, legenella, vermin, and everything else that we don’t want living with us.
The solutions to this usually require energy for dehumidification, so low energy usage is possible, but not the zero energy usage that the traditional architecture of the hot humid world had. If the property is on or near the ocean, then the breezes will be your best source of cooling. If it is inland, you may need to create your own breezes via thermal syphoning. This is not the place to go into a books worth of details, but there are hundreds of years history of comfortable buildings, before electricity. It can be done today, with no need for mechanical air conditioning or high-tech strategies. Some of our modern materials, as well as the knowledge from years of further study and com- -munication, give us an advantage over those who built in the past. We have the best of both worlds.
Let the breezes get under, in, around, and through the living space, shade everything, with big double roofs and walls (hanging shades the wind can blow through, but sun can not shine through) Use radiant barriers, outdoor living, working and cooking areas.
Look at the old houses, not the old institutional buildings. Remember that the Spanish brought their architecture from a much drier climate, and that they had been influence by the Moors from and even more drier climate. They are not the best model, due to their political purposes. Just because a building lasts, may have no reflection on its success as a human living space. The best may return to nature every generation, or sooner.
In an energy design sense, the raise grass hut, up on bamboo poles, and the deep southern plantation house, with its big 360° porches, are very similar. It is a good starting point.