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Tropical Modernism: The Latest Architecture and News

Tropical Modernism: Costa Rica’s New Elevated Treehouses

Costa Rica’s new modern homes are built to float above the landscape. This wave of elevated housing is designed to minimize environmental impact while working with varied terrain. Aiming to become a carbon-neutral country, Costa Rica is transforming its housing market as it experiences a growing demand for more residential buildings.

© Jordi Miralles© Andres Garcia LachnerCourtesy of Garcia Lachner photography© Nic Lehoux+ 12

Tropical Modernism: Puerto Rico's New Homes, Hotels and Hostels

The history of Puerto Rico is reflected in its cities. The territory’s architecture has evolved from simple structures made of wood and thatch to monumental modern works. Shaped by both internal and external forces across its varied landscapes, Puerto Rico’s diverse styles represent over 400 years of Spanish rule and over 100 years as an unincorporated territory of the United States. Today, the island’s modern architecture reflects its multicultural background.

Courtesy of Díaz Paunetto ArquitectosCourtesy of José Fernando Vazquez© Carlos Esteva© Víctor Díaz Paunetto+ 12

RESET, A Norm for Sustainable Architecture in the Tropics

Certification of sustainable buildings has become a prominent trend in architecture over the last couple of years and while most people can agree on the importance of sustainability in building, how to achieve it leaves copious room for discussion.

Design Guidelines for Contemporary Tropical Architecture

Bruno Stagno from San José, Costa Rica, shares his contemplations for a free expressive code for tropical architecture.

Spotlight: Geoffrey Bawa

A courtyard in Bawa's campus for the University of Ruhuna. Image © Harry Sowden
A courtyard in Bawa's campus for the University of Ruhuna. Image © Harry Sowden

Despite his late entry into architecture, Geoffrey Manning Bawa FRIBA, (July 23, 1919 – May 27, 2003), explored modernism and its cultural implications and created a unique, recognizable style of design which had a lasting impact on architects across the world. Well versed in Modernist theory, Bawa was one of the original proponents of Tropical Modernism, a design movement in which sensitivity for local context combines with the form-making principles of modernism. Bawa’s architecture led to the formation of a new architectural identity and aesthetic for many tropical environments, and won him recognition and awards, including the Chairman’s Award of the Aga Kahn Special Chairman’s Award for Architecture (2001) and the title Deshamanya, in recognition of his contributions to his country by the government of Sri Lanka.

Kandalama Hotel, Dambulla. Image © Harry SowdenEna de Silva House. Image ©  Helene Binet The Sri Lanka Parliament Building. Image © Harry SowdenThe Bentota Beach Hotel. Image © Harry Sowden+ 15

Remembering Bawa

In this article, originally published in Indian Architect & Builder, architect and writer David Robson pens an intimate and personal account of the life and work of Geoffrey Bawa – an incredible architect with an un-paralleled legacy in Sri Lanka and south-east India.

Ten years have rolled by since Geoffrey Bawa’s death and fifteen since ill-health forced him to hang up his tee-square. It's time to take stock: what was his legacy? How were his ideas disseminated? What influence has he had? What were his qualities? Who was Geoffrey Bawa?

Ena de Silva House - Copy drawing by Vernon Nonis, 1985.. Image  Sitting at the Polontawala Bungalow.. Image  Lunuganga -Drawing. Image  Triton Hotel Entrance. Image  + 58