Half Dose #103: sLAB Costa Rica

[All images courtesy NYIT/Holler Architecture]

sLAB Costa Rica is a design-build initiative of the School of Architecture and Design at New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) located in Nosara, Costa Rica. Led by Tobias Holler of Holler Architecture, the research-driven studio developed designs and held a competition in fall 2011 for a communal recycling center that the students will help build this summer. To aid in expenses for housing students and making a film by Ayana de Vos documeting the project, a Kickstarter campaign has been set up to raise $15,000 by May 21.


As the top image attests, the Costa Rica locale is a beautiful one, veering between lush forests in the rainy season (as pictured) and almost desert-like conditions during the dry season. What drew Holler to the area was the fact the natural beauty and its related eco-tourism is offset by a severe solid waste management problem. As the Kickstarter page explains, "over sixty percent of the 2,400 tons of waste produced daily are put into open, unregulated dumps and less than ten percent gets recycled." Therefore the design-build studio proposes a recycling and education center.


The design is the result of four competition-winning teams (the Facebook poll winner, two jury-selected winners, and one runner-up). They presented their schemes to the Nosara community in January, and then the various teams merged and refined a single scheme to the renderings and plan illustrated in this blog post. The one-story, linear building features two volumes: The larger space is semi-enclosed, used for sorting recycling; the smaller space includes an office area, small room for a bed, and a bathroom; the covered open space in between features a ramp and stair to negotiate the grade change. This last element also unites the two offset volumes, giving the building its distinctive kink.


Check out the Kickstarter page for more information on the project, which you can also follow via Facebook and Twitter. If you're in the NYC area, NYIT is hosting a reception and film screening on Thursday, May 3 at 6:30pm in the NYIT Auditorium on Broadway, 1871 Broadway (at West 61st Street).