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How to Build In the Tropics

Right orientation of a structure in Costa Rica can be tricky. There are 10 basic types of ¨local climates¨ all over the country which result in a huge variety of different microclimates.Flora and fauna biodiversity are blessed with these conditions, and one of the main objectives of tropical modern architecture is to design with nature, adapting designs to local weather. Not adapting the weather to a house. This can probably be the main reason for construction materials not being as durable as we thought so.

Example of site analysis combined with microclimate analysis.

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Many people like you, who want an affordable  home in the tropics, have asked questions about concrete walls but also wonder about drywall systems…are they safe? Are they strong enough to resist high impact loads, rain, sun and moisture?
Let me tell you that the answer is yes: the use of drywalls with plasterboards or fiber cement boards as internal and sometimes external walls, is gaining popularity among private residential projects. If used correctly it can provide a risk free solid construction.

Lamina verde installed on exterior ceilings

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This tropical modern project features 4 units each with 1 bedroom, specially designed to rent to a very specific user: single persons and students. My client specifically ensured does not want to deal with families or children. We are on a $440 per squared meter cost. That’s why this design features zinc exterior walls on north and south facades, to reduce costs, and because of the small lot we are working on. On the other hand, east and west facades have operable windows every  to let natural air and light to come into all the apartments, crosses ventilation concept applied here. This will help to reduce the electricity bill. Landscape design is crucial, because the project is a downslope building. Nature will be the user’s view from everywhere in the apartment. This is a great example of a steel frame building design. Finishes are polished concrete floors, concrete built in counter, low cost accessories, minimum use of doors.Construction starting on march 2011.

Note: 60k does not include earth movement and retaining wall. Spending 60K is possible on a flat lot.

Hello from Costa Rica! I am proud to show this schematic design for Noel Jansen’s house at Las Olas Beach Community, Esterillos Costa Rica.
This design features stone retaining walls, steel frame building and wood columns, drywall and wood finishes.
A contemporary but cozy environment was generated by designing with nature: main views, natural terrain conditions, catch of natural breeze, correct orientation to catch and evacuate rain water are just a few of sustainable features of this house.
Building coming soon!


Architect Gloriana Mejia and Builder Zacarias Ramirez

Hello followers! Here we are after some little time installing our roof steel frame structure and cover. Our strategy was to install it really soon since rainy season is here with all it’s power and there is a need to start working under a roof. Our workers can finish welding under it so all metal work will not be delayed because of the rain and our common tropical weather of the season.

…there are still more design subjects related to this important architectural element that need to be mentioned and you might be interested!

One important thing, is to have a slope on your roof. I talked about the correct slope, but not why having a slope.

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