LocationSan José Province, San José, Costa Rica
Architect in chargeÁlvaro Rojas, Sylvia Fournier
EngineerCecilia Chuy, IECA Internacional, Ingenieros Estructurales
Text description provided by the architects. The clients, one of the oldest and most prestigious construction companies in Costa Rica, requested an extension in a corner lot next to their building of more than 40 years, the remodeling of the latter, and a new integral interior design.
They wanted a building that expressed strength and novelty to symbolize its corporate structure formed by three original founders and five younger partners.
The building consists of: a "solid base", with a skin of locally made concrete tiles, and a "lightweight box", with pre-patinated "green" copper skin, made with 95% recycled copper, material that "thrives" in difficult climates, especially in the tropics, and that will not require maintenance. It is an excellent material for our tropical climate since its continuous patination process is accelerated by constant exposure to rain and sun. The "box" of light copper skin is framed with bent steel edges, flashing and flashing.
We oppose large glazed areas in buildings in our latitude, because they are anti-tropical. We design windows that frame views and introduce the necessary natural lighting. These volumes of windows are projected to decompose the box and to produce chiaroscuro, to emphasize shadows on the surfaces.
It is a silent building that does not create a "fuss" in the city; a building that, for now, seems to be a "protagonist", but in the future, it will become a "backdrop" supporting public spaces, sidewalks and streets, in short the urban canyon.
It also responds to necessary urban images in a city where sound urban landscape is rapidly disappearing.
We are convinced that architecture in Costa Rica must look for new ways. Architecture must be "here and now", without loyalty to any "cult", including the decadent and dogmatic Modern Movement, which has no real application at this time and, much less, in places like Costa Rica. The stubborn beliefs that emerge from the Modern Movement equalize values, among them the "universal aesthetic commandments", generally incorrect because places and cultures, although subject to "globalization", are unique and have special requirements, even beyond aesthetics, from which architectures must arise.
Massimiliano Fuksas said some time ago that "architecture demands more Ethics and less Aesthetics", idea not altogether bad in our opinion, but we believe that "more Ethics and more Aesthetics with Ethics" is necessary in our latitude.
The building shows solidity, maturity, like V & J, but also novelty, like the new V & J team.
The most important thing is to contribute to the development of a better urban landscape and, therefore, to the "experiential landscape". The design is "modern", in part, out of respect for the formal expressions of the existing V & J buildings and shows a "vision" of "here and now architecture".