fournier rojas arquitectos uses local materials to build community center in costa rica
 

fournier rojas arquitectos uses local materials to build community center in costa rica

 

in el rodeo de mora, an economically disadvantaged community in costa rica’s rural central valley, fournier rojas arquitectos has constructed a community center on a low budget using local materials. the project comprises a large and adaptable circular room, a kitchen, toilets, a storage facility, and new amenities for the neighborhood’s soccer team.

fournier-rojas-arquitectos-community-center-of-el-rodeo-de-mora-costa-rica-designboom-02
all images by fernando alda

 

 

operating on a very low budget, fournier rojas arquitectos completed the project for less than $250 USD per square meter. material donations, including the ceramic tile used to finish the walls and floors, helped minimize the cost of the project. the site-specific design responds to its tropical and bio-climatic context with local materials used to express a sense of community.

fournier-rojas-arquitectos-community-center-of-el-rodeo-de-mora-costa-rica-designboom-02
the project is located in costa rica’s rural central valley

 

 

symbolizing gathering and democracy, the large room forms a circle that three-dimensionally becomes a cylinder made of clay ventilation bricks — a material that ensures a comfortable internal environment in a region where high temperatures and humidity are common. the architects also point out the efficiency of a circular building, as the shape requires less material for its foundations and walls in comparison to a square structure with the same floor area.

fournier-rojas-arquitectos-community-center-of-el-rodeo-de-mora-costa-rica-designboom-02
the project was completed for less than $250 USD per square meter

 

 

as costa rica has strict regulations to minimize earthquake damage, there was a programmatic requirement for the structure to serve as a shelter in case of a natural disaster. the quake-resistant building can hold at least 100 people in case of an emergency, and is located on high ground so as not to be adversely affected by flooding.

fournier-rojas-arquitectos-community-center-of-el-rodeo-de-mora-costa-rica-designboom-02
the large room forms a circle that three-dimensionally becomes a cylinder

 

 

made from lightweight fiber-cement sheets, the roof includes large overhangs that provide shade from the region’s hot sun. the shape of the canopy is formed by a series of eight independent segments of pitched roofs, with four positioned at a lower level. rather than using a more expensive circular roof, this technique enables the building to be entirely covered with simple rectangular geometries.

fournier-rojas-arquitectos-community-center-of-el-rodeo-de-mora-costa-rica-designboom-02
clay ventilation bricks ensure a comfortable internal environment

 

 

the canopy, alongside the vertical gabled walls formed by metal slats, encourages natural ventilation. the roof’s fiber-cement panels are supported by three layers of interconnecting steel tube trusses. the entire system sits on reinforced concrete columns that have been tied together with rectangular steel tube beams. the system was assembled on site, before being lifted into place by workers using temporary pilotis and ropes.

fournier-rojas-arquitectos-community-center-of-el-rodeo-de-mora-costa-rica-designboom-02
the roof is made from lightweight fiber-cement sheets

 

 

the trusses allow for a generous free span of 22 meters. the interior circle is 16 meters in diameter, enclosing a total of 201 square meters. externally, there is a 2 meter wide walkway, covered by the roof’s overhangs. this not only protects inhabitants from the sun and the rain, but also responds to the region’s tropical vernacular architecture.

fournier-rojas-arquitectos-community-center-of-el-rodeo-de-mora-costa-rica-designboom-02
the shape of the canopy is formed by a series of eight independent segments

fournier-rojas-arquitectos-community-center-of-el-rodeo-de-mora-costa-rica-designboom-02
the canopy, alongside the vertical gabled walls, encourages natural ventilation

fournier-rojas-arquitectos-community-center-of-el-rodeo-de-mora-costa-rica-designboom-02
the community center of el rodeo de mora illuminated at night

fournier-rojas-arquitectos-community-center-of-el-rodeo-de-mora-costa-rica-designboom-02
the roof’s panels are supported by three layers of interconnecting steel tube trusses

fournier-rojas-arquitectos-community-center-of-el-rodeo-de-mora-costa-rica-designboom-02
an aerial view of the rural site

fournier-rojas-arquitectos-community-center-of-el-rodeo-de-mora-costa-rica-designboom-02
the building is entirely covered with simple rectangular geometries

 

 

project info:

 

name: community center of el rodeo de mora, costa rica
building type: community center (community room)
area: 750 sqm
major materials: reinforced concrete (structure, walls, seating bleachers), ventilation clay bricks, steel roof structure, cement-fiber roofing
cost: USD $180,000 (+/- USD $250/m2)
architect: fournier rojas arquitectos, ciudad colón, costa rica
lead designers: álvaro rojas and sylvia fournier
photography: fernando alda

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