For this year's Solar Decathlon Europe, Tec Team Costa Rica have designed a house that aims to revive traditional architectural practices and promote stronger communities of senior citizens. Tropika employs various low-tech sustainability features such as cross-ventilation, natural lighting, and water treatment facilities. Made from exotic wood including teak and melina, the house is a single room that measures just 592 sq ft that has been subdivided in order to provide for all of the essential facilities.
Housing in Costa Rica used to resemble that of Spain, especially the fact that “central courtyards were the soul of the house.” Over time however, growing insecurity and the influence of other cultures has led to the spread of more closed and isolated homes. That’s why the team decided to enter the competition, as a way to take action on the issue of sustainable housing that retains a strong focus on community. “Participation is a means to demonstrate that the country can provide real solutions. It is an opportunity for most Ticos take the decision to undertake, to take risks,” said Bryan Navarro, a student leader of Tropika project.
This sentiment was mirrored by those higher up the food chain, who even declared the project of interest to the Presidency of the Republic. Funding for the project has since come from private enterprise, financial institutions and some independent volunteers who were willing to help. One group of local artisans also donated some furniture, which helped to add some cultural nuance to the design, and leave a distinctly Costa Rican mark on the project.
Images by Solar Decathlon 2014