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Tropical Modern Architecture in Costa Rica

2013-07-26 17.31.48So it is! You have read correctly. How can Icelandic recyclable architecture be applied in the tropics? How can you select construction materials in the tropics being inspired on such a different context?

On my recent  trip to Iceland, this wall in Reykjavick called my attention specially because it is made of  wooden pallettes.The tropical application would be very simple. You basically need to take the remains from hard wood structural sections, add cross ventilation and a great joint . Of course this works with a great natural sealant or wax ( bees wax or penofin) , plus wide overhangs that protect it from sun and rain.

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I am working on this tropical modern project, and the owner and I would like to hear about your opinion on colors. Which one you like the best? White metal facade? Silver metal facade? or slate gray facade? Please fill the form below.

Silver Option

Slate gray option

White option

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When I was asked by John Kettlewell to design his house in Escazu, I started wondering what would be the best solution for his lot’s specific situation: get the best view and moving not too much earth. Not only for budget proposals but thinking about sustainability too.This scale model really helped me to figure it out. It is an old school technique that I believe every great architect may still use , despite the advanced technology available to us. I could almost feel and touch the shapes of the ground and was able to model them more accurately and more comfortable than with a 3d software!

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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.


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.
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