Los almendros

CLIENT:

Lew Halpert

SITE:

Playa Hermosa, Jaco, Costa Rica

COST:

$32,000,000.00

DATE OF DESIGN:

2007

DATE OF COMPLETION:

2008

PROGRAM:
The project is a mid sized development of about 50 residential units on a large open ocean beachfront property. This beach is continually affected by the arrival of Surf, Storms, and Turtles. Turtles come to nest every year to many of the beaches of Costa Rica on both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts. They are pre-historic creatures that are in between the ocean and the land. They belong to both.
The sensitivity of these turtles is such that they only nest in the beach they where born. If upon their travel to lay eggs, some sort of interruption or disruption occurs, they will cancel their trip and will not lay their eggs. The information of that turtle and its legacy for ever lost.
Let us use this as a metaphor for the situation occurring on the entire coast of Costa Rica. The majority of this coast is being seen as an opportunity for real estate revenue and little information about the existing natural and cultural systems that exist in these coasts is being taken into account for the planning, development and execution of these projects. This project upon arrival was no different.
In this regard it was seen as an opportunity to accept this market force and redirect it towards a more inclusive, more informed, and more aware solution.
The main goal of the project was to educate and inform the client, the local authorities, the future residents and ourselves about the current knowledge on the existing natural and cultural systems available in this area. With this knowledge create a plan and building that could resonate with this information rather than erase it.
The attempt was mediocre, but the hints of the lessons are there.
An appropriate use of vegetation, massing, orientation, configuration, water and electricity to create a solution that not only satisfies the demands of the market but also presents some attempts for possible future lessons on how to build in a larger awareness with our surroundings.
A terraces building that mitigates its water, its light emission, and tells a story with the display of roofs that mimic the coming and going of the turtles as they nest and return to the ocean.