In reflecting on the experiences and situations we felt, both collectively and individually, during the course of our stay in Costa Rica, I realized that there was an underlying notion of community and collaboration. As a group we did everything communally, such as having our meals together everyday. Additionally, the work we were doing was in collaboration with the community of El Cocal which further promoted this idea of interactivity between all of us. In thinking about the spaces where these situations unfolded, I realized that there was an inherent openness that would facilitate these interactions.
Many of the spaces and structures we came across were characterized by being large and open, with a free-plan and with a sense of permeability. They were often accessible from multiple sides, with the lack of walls to allow for movement and air-flow. While surely these spaces resulted from a response to the climate, I do not doubt that they foster the type of interactions and encounters that we experienced. This sense of sociability was indicative of one of the main differences in culture between Costa Rica and back home.
In an attempt to encapsulate and recreate the social spaces and places we witnessed, my piece is a gazebo that frames an a small, intimate space that attempts to foster social interaction and invites users to stand together in underneath the structure.
The structure, drawing inspiration from locally observed shelters and their form, is comprised of a triangular truss-like frame. The triangular portals invite the users to stand underneath the central joint, creating a quasi-ribbed vault construction. The resulting space underneath could be used as a meeting place or a junction in between other spaces, ideally leading to users to stop for a while and interact with other users. The form is directly inspired from a particular bamboo structure encountered on an excursion. The tall ceiling heights where possible due to the qualities of the material. The space is further enclosed by horizontally placed PVC cords that run from the structural elements framing the portals to the central structural elements framing the central space. The cords will both further demarcate the space as an enclosure, but it also acts as a brise soleil, which recalls the need for shelter from the sun in the tropical Costa Rican climate.