Recycling and Community Center Chira

A Foundation is supporting the design and construction of a recycling and community center on Chira, the biggest island in the Nicoya gulf in Costa Rica. With an estimated population of almost 4000 inhabitants and an increasing arrival of national and international tourists, the pollution on the island has become a worry for many, especially of the members of ADATA (a local association of "women working for the environment”). Moreover, the recollection, treatment and sales of recyclable material can become a welcome additional income in this area of Costa Rica where the big majority is depended on fishing; an activity which is legally banned during 2 months of the year in order to maintain the fish population.

The center will moreover be used to give trainings; make handicrafts from the recyclable material; receive school children, tourists and other groups that are interested in learning about the recycling process and its benefits; as well as for other collective events. Like this the center is foreseen to become a place that stimulates the social, economic and environmental development of the community, amongst others via the attraction of sustainable tourism to this remote area.

Our Latin Studio organized a Design & Build Studio in collaboration with the Universidad Latina and the Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica (UNA). Guided by a multidisciplinary team of professors (including architects, urbanists, an anthropologist, economist and biologist), U Latina students designed a series of architectural proposals that were presented to an international and multi-institutional jury including the future users (the women of ADATA). The proposals will be integrated into a single concluding design, on the bases of which the construction documents will be developed. Construction is expected to start by mid 2014, with the help of the students and the local population. The project is co-financed by A Foundation, the United Nations Development Programme (UNPD), and Dinadeco.


A Foundation (Oliver Schütte, Marije van Lidth de Jeude, José Pablo González, José Solis, Machiel Crielaard, Lotte Amelink, Gustaaf Dekking) with Dinadeco, Reciclarte, the Recycling Center Escazu, Red Conserva, UNA, UNDP, and Universidad Latina

Location: Costa Rica

Status: Ongoing

Year: 2012–present