Tag Archives: tropical architecture costa rica

Very eye catching, simplistic and elegant proposal

Option 1 White Tpo fascia



Option 2 copper fascia


Option 3 aged aluminum fascia

So in the tropics, you must be cautious with the aesthetics you want for your project. As my clients Oumi and Urs from Switzerland said, “we are not in Ibiza, we are in Costa Rica” .That means that you may want to select materials that are low maintenance and colors that blend with Nature. Of course we all loved the first option but it is up to the client to decide which strategies benefit both their pockets and needs. I will provide all the elevations options and will guide you to take the decision that best suits you. Read More

2015-03-28 08.44.06While traveling all around Costa Rica following my client’s special sites for building their homes in the tropics, I can’t help but to learn from vernacular architecture. In few words, what people do for themselves based on the empirical process. Read More

2015-02-16 21.19.05

Feels good when you can help others to let go and build what they have always dreamed of. Here I am with the Perkins at Escaleras de Dominical, we have stacked their future tropical vacation home as we realize how important the trees are for shading the house. We can’t wait to get building started!

This is a simple 2 level house, first floor on concrete blocks, second level on wood, full of minimalist  details that make  tropical living easier: less mold, more natural breeze, less maintenance fees, more health due to exposition of rooms to the outdoors and lastly a higher quality of life. This is no american house in the tropics, this is a tropical modern architectural design adapted to Nature and local conditions.

tropical modern architect in Dominical

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!

Read More

I was recently hired by Cafe de los Deseos, a downtown hip but informal restaurant-cafe to do interior architectural design. The rest of the decoration was done by the owners,three creative costarican graphic designers who decided to leave their jobs at multinational companies to follow a dream.

Read More

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.

As you have noticed, I recurrently write about passive design strategies. These strategies are in few words, the part of the architecture that dedicates its studies and proposals for innovative construction techniques, based on passive traditional practices to resolve the needs of comfort, hygiene, and safety in the shelter for human activity.

With the understanding that each area and building requires special consideration for geological, geographical,geo biological, geo morpholigical matters in addition to climatic conditions, is the aim of the passive strategies to lower the possible environmental impact.

Geotecture was born in ancient and vernacular building traditions which trough trial and error and lot so f observation over millions of years, forged techniques and procedures to obtain shelter. In the Costa Rica case, the first who used these strategies were our natives from Talamanca. After a while, around the same area, europeans imported their victorian style. The local afroamerican communities tranformed it into what we know as vernacular architecture. One of such techniques used in this kind of architecture, was Crossed Ventilation. This is basically a concept to define ventilation on buildings.





Depending on each site and time of the day, there are typical winds that generate high pressure zones and low pressure zones. You should promote open windows and interior doors located specially to let the air flow generated by the 2 pressure zones, to all over the house, as homogeneous as possible. Doors and windows should be located diagonally in the space.


In reference literature specialists Givoni, Izard, Guyoy or Olygay recoomend crossed ventilation for warm temperate climates to wet tropical moist, like Costa Rica, as a strategy for passive cooling of buildings. This strategy should be used with the combination of shade and surrounding environment meaning walls and ceilings, whose surface temperature is similar to room temperature. This is closely related to roof design and wall insulation.

While the outside temperature does not exceed 30’34 degrees celsius with a relative humidity of 70’90%, we can achieve crossed ventilation. Outside these ranges the croos-ventilation strategy will be less effective. Fortunately, most areas in  Costa Rica fall within these parameters, that’s why I tend to promote Crossed Ventilation on all my projects.

I truly believe on not spending not even one more dollar or colon on air conditioned. Unless you have a special computer or medical room. Ac pumps heat and harmful gasses into the external environment, thus contributing to global warming, so we need more air conditioning. The classic ‘ vicious circle” effect. The power required to run it consumes fossil fuel, depleting reserves and again, adding to global warming. Is it good for us to sit breathing recirculated air which consists of other people’s farts, body odour, tobacco fumes and food smells?

Open your minds and windows…


%d bloggers like this: