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Tag Archives: Tropical Modern Architect in Costa Rica

My client Peter  from New York,  decided to follow the construction process of his home I designed. He changed the cold and snow for tropical weather and grilled fish, while involving directly during all construction stages. Unless you hire professional assistance with proven experience, it makes it easier for architectural inspectors like me to keep track of everything that goes on at all times.That makes  this process a more open and clear one for all parts of the team. Construction can be complex, specially in such a place like Puerto Viejo, where culture, distance and construction methods represent a challenge to whoever that’s not a local.

IMG_1612 Building in Puerto Viejo: living room view from terrace with metal truss to achieve longer column spans.

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My friend Pagsi wants to build 2 apartments, 2 bedroom each in a 300 sm lot in Santa Ana area. This is a populated zone where the opportunity for rental income is high, so building her own loft and having an additional one to rent is just a great idea of a stress free life for a yoguini.

Tropical Contemporary Urban Oasis in Santa Ana, Costa Rica

Tropical contemporary loft option in Santa Ana, Costa Rica

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For those of you wanting to build a small size vacation home, small apartments or cottages and bungalows, there’s some innovative ideas that I have applied to some projects, with great results and I’d like to share.

Let’s take the typical ‘beach or mountain cottage’ as an example. This would be a smaller detached home with approximately 1000 living sq ft ( 120 sm/ 1291 sft, 2 to 3 bedrooms, living room, kitchen, 1 or 2 levels) on  a budget of 60k to 70k (good quality construction)  in a beach or mountain
setting..
When creating your dream ‘cottage’, one can accomplish staying within budget, aesthetics, and functionality by using new life style concepts, new materials and new thinking overall. If you take ‘change’ as part of life and can deal with a few, you’ll be good to go. My philosophy is that ‘the river is not the same river, it changes with every second that passes by’, and I like to apply that to my designs. I have accomplished the ‘tropical living’ in many designs and have stayed within budget by incorporating some, or all, of these ideas and construction materials in the tropics:

1. Roof as envelope.
In Costa Rica, due to it’s geographical location, a home’s roof is in charge of reflecting the sunlight back to the atmosphere, protecting the interior from rain and providing insulation. So here’s an idea: use the ‘envelope roof design’, which looks like an open envelope with the living space inside. Here are some examples of houses built like that in Europe, Brazil and one of my designs in Costa Rica.

When Christia Madacsi, from Centro y Sur magazine interviewed me, I traveled with my mind to my former years in college, life as a child and more importantly to essential roots of architecture and why we need it in modern times. As my first interview and my first time having an article of published on a magazine,  I  realize how much I enjoy connecting with people who share my philosophy and points of view. It is the same feeling of working with a client when we both like ideas, discussing them.This integral work makes an awesome project born.

I hope you enjoy this article, and invite you to read the whole magazine. Loved their graphic design and the content just make me pride of Latin America.If you want to listen to my interview click here!

 

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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After visiting the latest edition of the Construction Fair several days ago, something got me thinking…why there´s so many companies offering solar water heaters and not so many offer  photovoltaic  systems to generate electricity despite the fact that solar energy will become a more economically attractive energy source in the future?

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Summer time is here! It’s the perfect moment to start building a home. Right now I am very close to be inspecting the construction process for two of my projects: one small apartment building in Heredia and a restaurant in Samara Beach.

But this nice weather also reminds me Costa Rica has an opposite weather condition: heavy rains. During summer time we are excited getting ready to build our dreams and we don’t usually think about designing and protecting our homes from what may put in danger our structures.

I cannot forget those huge amounts of rain over and homes and buildings from last year. We experienced all those landslides all over our roads and I cannot help but write about a few good architectural and landscape design tips regarding “waterproofing” home building.

Know the soil conditions

 

Soil test tools

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