The clients, one of Costa Rica’s oldest and most prestigious construction companies, requested a new addition on a corner lot to their existing 30+ year old building and an integral redesign of the interiors. They wanted a building that expressed both solidity and novelty to symbolize their corporate structure formed by three original founders and five young junior partners. Thus, the building consists of two main volumes: the existing two-story building and the new one, both supported on a strong first floor clad in concrete tilesrepresenting V&Js soundness, and to symbolize the new “young blood”.This level is dedicated to parking. Above, a lightweight second and third floors clad in prepatinated copper sheathing, a material that we used here for the first time in Central America, thus quite innovative for our country. Prepatinated copper is an excellent material for our tropical climate as its continued patination or “rusting” process is accelerated by constant exposure to much rain and sun. The building also responds to much needed urban imagery in a city where sound cityscape is fast disappearing. The building hugs the street giving strong support to the urban “canyon.”
Van der Laat& Jiménez Headquarters by Alvaro Rojas and Sylvia Fournier, won the WA Award Cycle 5.
We at Fournier_Rojas ARQUITECTOS-Costa Rica are convinced that architecture must seek new paths, especially in the developing world and with less "architectural culture." Architecture must be of "here and now" without vanquishing to any "architectural cult", including the decadent and dogmatic Modern Movement that is now almost 100 years old and that has no real application at the moment and, much less, in tropical and less developed places like Costa Rica.
The obstinate beliefs emerging from the Modern Movement equalize values, among them "universal aesthetic commandments", usually wrong because places and cultures, although subject to "globalization", are unique and have special requirements, even beyond the aesthetic ones. We, like the great Louis Kahn, strongly believe that architecture emerges from place. The great Italian architect Massimiliano Fuksas recently said that "architecture demands more Ethics and less Aesthetics", not altogether bad; we preferour own interpretation: "more Ethics and more Aesthetics with Ethics."
The building shows solidity, maturity, like V & J but also novelty, like the new V& J. The most important thing is to contribute to the development of a better urban landscape and thus to the "experiential landscape." The design is "modern" showing a "glimpse" of our theory of "architecture here and now" and respecting the existing older V&J offices.
A "solid base," made of stone skin and a "light box," with pre-patinated, "green" copper skin, made from 95% recycled copper, which is "cherished" by difficult climates and will never require maintenance. In accordance with our opposition to large glazed areas, finding them anti-tropical, we designed windows that frame the views and introduce the necessary natural illumination. The lightweight "box" with copper is finished with steel profiles, a new version of the flashing. It is a silent building that does not make a great "fuss" in the city; a building that, for now, seems to be a "protagonist" but as the neighborhood changes, it will become a "backdrop" building that will support public spaces, sidewalks and streets, which are more important than architecture.
Material Used :
1. Revere Copper - Facade Cladding - Prepatinated Copper
2. Holcim – Foundations, slabs, columns and beams – Reinforced concrete
3. Holcim – Floor systems - Prestressed concrete
4. Euromobilia – Work stations
5. VdL&J – Ceiling systems
6. VdL&J – Interior drywall partition systems