Escazu’s Plaza Roble Offers a Stylish and Functional Work Space.
Plaza Roble, a new office complex in Escazu, will be inaugurated tomorrow, Aug. 12, by the famous Mexican architects, father and son Ricardo and Victor Legorreta. The duo also designed apartments within the Reserva Playa Conchal project, in Guanacaste; in fact they are responsible for designs throughout the world on five continents and their reputation precedes them today.
Legorreta & Legorreta are famous for their avant-garde style and ideas. Ricardo Legorreta found the time to give lectures to Costa Rica university students last week, reminding them how architecture should not follow fashion, but the population’s needs; he explains how times have changed and we now live in a fast world where the space used needs to be adapted to today’s way of life.
He explained how offices were, up to now, huge surfaces filled with private cubicles, closed windows and with the air conditioning blowing hard. Today we all need large open spaces, to allow free movement and efficiency. Open windows let the fresh air circulate instead of expensive and unnatural air conditioning that recycles germs throughout buildings. Computers have changed the way light is needed and the sunlight is regaining its true value. Legorreta & Legorreta’s work is characterized with the way they harmonize light, colors, shadows and sounds.
In the past houses used to be designed with the idea that housewives would be left alone to attend to household chores, whereas today, the dinning room can also serve as an office where a laptop finds its place on the dinning table for the large population of women who work from home. A balance has to be found in order to design buildings and residences that are creative, avant-garde, and stylish and are able to accommodate modern needs and ways of life without damaging the environment.
The architect reminded the students that architecture is not about the creation of flashy impressive buildings, they should be places where ones wants to go back to, and where one wants to stay, because one feels comfortable and at ease.
He also urged the Costa Ricans to stop being influenced by the flamboyance and extravagance seen in other contexts, and indeed concentrate on what they have, and to learn to explore and use their own identity. Architecture should have nothing to do with fashion, a house, after all, is expected to last longer than just a decade. A home should provide his owners with the space they need and respond to their needs and way of life.
Maybe this is what is wrong with the architecture here; my first impression of San Jose was that there was no style at all. Then, I realized that it was actually a compilation of dozens and dozens of different styles thrown in without consideration to the surroundings, or to the final result or whether they satisfied the needs of the population.
The result is the unattractive chaos we all know as San Jose. The city does not only lack style and beauty, it is inconvenient, there are no adequate roads to support the heavy traffic of today, there aren’t enough parks or pedestrian areas, and it lacks identity. There are some isolated barrios that have managed to keep some character, Barrio Amon being one of them with its Neo-Classical, Victorian, Mudéjar and eclectic style, a mixture that works very well together.
Some other areas have adopted a North American style, we all know about the condos which are literally invading Costa Rica land today, with their pseudo heavy Mexican style, all looking very much the same and generic. Costa Rica is not a country for architecture aficionados, this is a given fact, and people come here for the beauty of nature and the diversity of the flora and fauna. Let’s hope that the students, who attended Legorreta’s speech and are the future of Costa Rica architecture, learned something new, and that we can look forward to the inauguration of many more stylish and efficient Costa Rica buildings.
Photo courtesy of La Nacion.
|Written by Mireille|
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Filed under: Business on August 11th, 2008