The Fundecor foundation is dedicated to rainforest protection. Its new headquarters in Costa Rica, designed by the Mexican firm PLUG architecture, is a physical expression of its commitment.
PLUG architecture’s design displays impressive simplicity and beauty – a square building with sides 30 meters long, four wings enclosing a large atrium. The shed roof of each wing slopes toward the courtyard, full of trees. A corridor circumscribes the atrium; the rooms are arranged along the outer perimeter of the building, facing the forest. Elevated on stilts, the wooden building floats above the gently undulating green terrain.
Román Cordero from PLUG architecture explains: “In all of our projects we are careful to make buildings that breathe. In this case, the perimeter plan with many openings makes for good passive cooling. With small fans we will be able to move the air enough so that we don’t need mechanical air conditioning.”
As one of the three main Holcim Awards winners for Latin America in 2014, “Arboreal Platform” automatically qualified as a finalist in the Global Holcim Awards 2015. All 15 finalist project teams were asked to submit an updated and more comprehensive entry that was evaluated by a global jury in March 2015.
The results of the global phase of the 4th Holcim Awards competition were announced on April 20, 2015.
The winners of the global phase of the 4th International Holcim Awards competition will be revealed on April 20, 2015. The results will be announced via the Holcim Awards website.
The USD 2 million Holcim Awards is the most significant international competition for sustainable design. The jury composed of renowned specialists from around the world and headed by Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean of the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University (USA) will evaluate 15 projects out of more than 6,000 submissions. The finalists are the winners of the Holcim Awards Gold, Silver, and Bronze Awards 2014 in each of the five competition regions of the world.
The finalist projects competing for one of the three Global Holcim Awards prizes are located in Austria, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, France, Italy, Lebanon, Mexico, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, and the USA and were entered by authors from these countries as well as from Germany, the Netherlands, and Spain. They reflect a broad variety of the current interpretation of sustainable construction combined with architectural excellence and enhanced quality of life beyond technical intervention.
The submissions will be evaluated by the Global Holcim Awards 2015 jury including Marc Angélil, Senior Dean of Architecture and Urban Design at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich, Switzerland), Alejandro Aravena, Principal of Elemental (Chile), Maria Atkinson, Founding Director of the Australian Green Building Council (Australia), Meisa Batayneh Maani, Principal of maisam architects and engineers (Jordan), Yolanda Kakabadse, President of WWF International (Ecuador), Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean of the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University (USA), Matthias Schuler, Principal of Transsolar(Germany), and Rolf Soiron, Chairman of the Board of the Holcim Foundation (Switzerland).
The winners of the global prizes will share prize money of USD 350,000. Previous winners of the tri-annual Global Holcim Awards include Bureau EAST (Los Angeles, USA), Centola + Associati (Salerno, Italy), Coelacanth and Associates (Tokyo, Japan), Ingenhoven und Partner Architekten (Dusseldorf, Germany), Kéré Architecture (Berlin, Germany), L’OEUF (Montreal, Canada), Public Architecture (San Francisco, USA), Proyectos Arqui5 (Caracas, Venezuela), realities:united (Berlin, Germany), Tsinghua University (Beijing, China), and Urban-Think Tank (São Paulo, Brazil).
About the Holcim Foundation and Holcim
The Swiss-based Holcim Foundation promotes and illustrates the strength of diverse strategies of achieving greater sustainability of the built environment. As part of its approach, the Foundation publishes booklets on outstanding examples of applied sustainable construction. The initiatives of the Holcim Foundation include the USD 2 million Holcim Awards – the most significant international competition for sustainable design.
Since it was established in 2003, the Foundation has been supported by Holcim in more than 70 countries worldwide and is independent of commercial interests. Holcim is one of the world’s leading suppliers of cement and aggregates (crushed stone, gravel and sand) as well as further activities such as ready-mix concrete and asphalt, including services.See more
Román Cordero of PLUG architecture in Mexico thinks the importance of site is paramount: considering culture, economy and connecting with landscape and the environment. “Arboreal Platform: Low-impact timber rainforest center” in Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí, Costa Rica won the Holcim Awards Silver addresses a broad spectrum of complex environmental parameters to create a simple and seemingly self-evident building.
The headquarters of Fundación para el Desarrollo de la Cordillera Volcánica Central in Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí, Costa Rica, received the silver award. Román Cordero from PLUG architecture in Mexico designed an elevated wooden structure that is sensitive to its context and uses low-cost passive and active systems to minimize its environmental footprint. The wooden structure is covered by a roof constructed with panels made of recycled aluminium milk packages.Read more »
The jury greatly appreciates the project’s general posture vis-à-vis sustainable development, one giving due credit to an understanding of sustainability as a “common sense” culture and contributing to an architecture based on fundamental principles. A broad spectrum of complex environmental parameters is addressed to create a simple and seemingly self-evident building, a straightforward structure that is nonetheless poetic in its expression. All in all, the design offers a suitable and convincing solution for a foundation dedicated to preserving the biodiversity of the natural habitat.
The design for the headquarters of the Fundación para el Desarrollo de la Cordillera Volcánica Central (Fundecor) in Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí, Costa Rica is appropriately located in the midst of a forest. The nonprofit organization aims to “contribute to sustainable management of natural resources and improve quality of life” in rainforest regions. Accordingly, the knowledge center will inform its users about the management of woodlands and the benefits to develop an economy dependent on forestry services, while promoting environmental conservation.
Entitled Arboreal Platform, the project is organized on an elevated podium that hovers above the ground and is surrounded by trees. Four buildings on the platform frame a central courtyard. The entire structure is made of wood and covered by a roof using panels made of recycled aluminum milk packages. Internal climate comfort is provided by a low-cost combination of passive and active systems, including the use of grey water for the sanitation system.
Progress: The use of wooden structures are practically lost and forgotten in Costa Rica, actual construction methods are based upon covered steel skeletons or concrete-based elements with a poor or absent environmental conscience. This new platform structure will illustrate that it is possible to rethink the use of wood as a model of vernacular innovation, applying standard techniques with local certified forestry timber.
People: One of the principal objectives of the center is to involve, inform and share with people the benefits of developing a sustainable economy based on forestry services while promoting environmental conservation and a sustainable lifestyle in equal measure. The center will be the place to bond community and forestry, based on a synergic relation. It projects in its materialization a platform of exchange and encounter accessible to all.
Planet: The project takes advantage of being in an elevated position, providing a low-cost combination of passive and active systems for internal climate comfort. Used water is reincorporated in bathroom flush systems and sanitary waste is linked to biodigestors that provide fertilizer for use in the forest. The wooden structure is modulated according to nearby sawmill standards and technically designed to be easily-assembled by a rural contractor. All wood used will be the product of their forestry management and is certified by the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council), living up to the Fundecor’s mission.
Prosperity: Fundecor has been a pioneer organization in Latin America for the positioning of forestry as a sustainable and responsible economic activity, and at the same time giving value to the forestry ecosystem. The timber and economic funds that will be used for the center are an example of how responsible management can be translated into physical resources.
Place: The position of the project takes advantage of the available site topography and takes care to minimize the building’s impact on the ground. The design response is materialized into an elevated wooden structure based on the logic of settlement used for generations around the site. The position is subtle; crowning a hill and showing its presence as a land monitor that protects – both literally and metaphorically – the forest.Download project entry poster - English (PDF, 4.33 MB) »Descargar cartel de proyecto - Español (PDF, 4.33 MB) »See more
The headquarters of Fundación para el Desarrollo de la Cordillera Volcánica Central in Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí, Costa …
Román Cordero of PLUG architecture in Mexico thinks the importance of site is paramount: considering culture, economy …
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