SKIN DEEP TROPICAL FEAT:
EXPLORING BAMBOO IN COSTA RICA TO ASSIST PASSIVE COOLING IN TROPICAL ARCHITECTURE
Rhode Island School of Design
Through this Independent Study Project my goal was to explore the properties and potential of natural materials, gain knowledge through hands-on experience in order to rethink the function of an architectural skin in sustainable design. I challenged myself to develop an innovative façade that addresses issues of natural ventilation and passive cooling in tropical climates.
The main objective of carrying out the independent study abroad was to learn through experience and active involvement, for which I collaborated with Benjamin Garcia Saxe on two projects. We visited the construction sites which gave me a broader understanding of the local conditions and overall dimensions of the spaces. I continued to collaborate with him (and his team) at their studio in San Jose. Further on I arranged a tour to BambuTico’s facilities at which I was taught about the growth, process and treatment of bamboo. Their work involves handcrafted production, which leaves the opportunity to continue investigating the potential of the material with an industrial approach.
Between the material research and collaboration experience, I experimented with materials that would suggest different ways of filtering light and other environmental conditions.
Through a series of concept skin-layer designs, I developed a new kind of facade system that explores materiality in relationship to tectonics and creative/artistic design. I combined both craft and industrial design in order to study materiality potential and how it can emphasize forms of designing, thinking, and developing ideas. As a result of my research, I developed a series of prototype modular systems which could be used in tropical spatial layouts while exploring the filtered light though the dimension of the architectural skin. The concept designs will explore the properties of the natural materials in relationship to transparency, material responsiveness, structure, malleability and versatility.