V.I.S.C.R. stands for Vivienda Integralmente Sostenible en Costa Rica; the project is the result of an interdisciplinary team work -including architects, urbanists, engineers, economists, a landscape designer and an anthropologist- to develop visionary proposals for middle class housing in Costa Rica.
Thinking that a sustainable house alone is not enough, we developed a proposal for an integrally sustainable community with different uses: 280 houses will be located in the center San José -and thus in the heart of Costa Rica's Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM)- in order to provide close access to sources of employment, limit transport necessities on the scale of the GAM and to create an alternative model to the currently prevailing tendencies of housing being developed in the suburban periphery. High quality public spaces will be integrated around the recuperated river Ocloro, which is currently hidden beneath ground. Shops and workshops are designed to also create work and income possibilities on site.
A socio-cultural mapping of the target site was elaborated in order to define the inhabitant profiles, available land, housing typologies, available as well as required services and commerce. A range of potential middle class future inhabitants was identified on the bases of which a social integration strategy was designed, apartment sizes and urban program connections were defined, affordability concepts were developed. In other words: V.I.S.C.R. is not only about an architectural design, but also about integrating economic, environmental and equity concerns.
The competition was organized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Foundation for Urban Development (FUDEU), the Costa Rican Ministry for Housing and Human Settlements (MIVAH), and Banco Popular.
Following the competition process, eight finaIists including V.I.S.C.R. 1.0 are being evaluated for realization and to give an important input for a sustainable construction norm in Costa Rica. Furthermore, a book about the competition including all finalists and a context analysis of the topic of sustainable housing and the right to the city was published by UICN with the technical support of A Foundation.
Landscape design: Alberto Negrini Vargas
Structural engineering: Orlando Gei
Mechanical engineering: Carlos Cordero
Electrical engineering: Álvaro González
Location: Costa Rica