About this project
UPDATE: After sucessfully reaching our initial funding goal, we now hope to reach more potential supporters, and a new goal of $24,000 by Monday May 21, 2pm EST.
As of Thursday morning, we are less than $4,000 away from the new goal. You can help us by spreading the word. Thank you!
What would we do with the additional funds?
Our initial goal of 15K was calculated as the bare minimum to make our initiative feasible, and we are so happy that you all made that happen! However, there are many expenses still unaccounted for, such as student travel, ground transportation, and expensive specialty film equipment required to shoot in the challenging conditions during the rainy season in Nosara. Since the project is truly a labor of love for all involved, we are willing to pay these expenses out of our own pockets, just to make this project happen. However, every additional dollar pledged (to be split equally between the student’s expenses, and the film making budget) will make this initiative so much more affordable for all of us, and it will make the film so much better!
But here is the best part about our new goal:
We are so grateful for all the support we have received so far, that we came up with another way to share the momentum of our kickstarter campaign with the local community: if we reach or exceed our new goal of $24,000 by May 21st, we will donate one third of the funds raised above our initial goal to the local community as a cash donation to help with purchase of construction materials for the recycling center.
If we raise $24,000, not only will we be donating our skills to the project this summer, we will also arrive in Nosara with a check of $3,000 for the community! How great would that be?
Please help us reach our new goal, so we can make the project more affordable for the students, make a better film, and bring a nice cash donation with us to Nosara. Please pledge, and spread the word, thank you! Pura Vida!
Ayana, Tobias, and the NYIT students
Costa Rica, a country more commonly known for biodiversity, national parks, and
a thriving eco-tourism sector, has a severe municipal solid waste management (MSWM) problem; lacking appropriate infrastructure and policies, over sixty percent of the 2,400 tons of waste produced daily are put into open, unregulated dumps and less than ten percent gets recycled. 250 tons daily are dumped illegally into rivers and tropical forests, polluting ground water, threatening the health of local communities and destroying a fragile ecosystem, whose well-being is of critical importance not only locally but to the planet.
My name is Tobias Holler, I am an architect and I teach at the New York Institute of Technology. I love Costa Rica and the planet. With a wonderful, dedicated group of students I have been working over the past year to design a community-run recycling and education center for Nosara, a small village in Northwestern Costa Rica, as part of the sLAB (student-led architecture build) community service initiative at NYIT’s School of Architecture and Design. The project is ready to be built this summer and the students are eager and willing to donate their time and skills to help with construction. Together with professional filmmaker Ayana de Vos we are looking to fund a portion of the student’s expenses while volunteering on the construction site in Nosara, and to enable Ayana to shoot the construction process, so that the project can be prominently featured in her documentary film about waste management and sustainability in Costa Rica, in order to share this important initiative with a larger audience.
Our help this summer in Nosara is crucial in making the project a reality, and it’s an important story that really needs to be told. Please help us help the community of Nosara, by making a pledge today and sharing this project with your friends.
Thank you so much! Pura Vida!
What happened so far?
Developed in close collaboration with local community leaders from the Nosara Civic Association, Nosara Waste and Recycling Association, and Sustainable Nosara, the project is a key component in the long-term solution to the local waste management problem, enabling the diversion of valuable resources from the waste stream, and, most importantly, allowing the community to educate its members on the importance and implementation of proper recycling practices. The project has the potential to become a model of sustainable waste management practices for communities in all of Costa Rica, and other tropical countries.
There is tremendous momentum and support for the initiative in the local community. The land to build has been donated by the Nosara Civic Association, local construction professionals are offering their services pro-bono and funding is available to begin construction, with more fundraising for construction materials currently underway.
The NYIT students have also invested a significant amount of time and energy in this project, outside of class, in addition to their already busy schedules. In November 2011 I organized an NYIT wide design competition for the project, attracting submissions from over 50 students.
A group of nine winners, partially selected through a public voting process on the project’s Facebook page, was sent to Costa Rica in January 2012 to present their initial design ideas to the local community, and to solicit feedback. We visited two existing recycling centers in San Jose, documented the project site, and reviewed their designs with Salagnac Architectos, the local architects for the project. We also presented the project at Veritas University in San Jose, who serves as the local academic partner for the project. Since then the students have been finalizing the design, collaborating with NYIT engineering students and faculty and the NYIT chapter of Engineers without Borders. The construction drawings for the project are now almost complete.
How we intend to use the funds:
Over the course of a two-month period this summer (July 1 – August 31), more than 25 students are eager and willing to donate their time and skills to help build the recycling center. Each student will stay approx. 2-3 weeks, at different times during the overall duration of the project, so that at any time a group of 10 students will be working on the construction site, under the supervision of local construction professionals. The students will pay for their own flights, but require funds to rent ten dorm beds for two month in a local hostel. 50% of the funds raised on kickstarter will be used for this purpose thus enabling all interested students to participate, including those with lesser financial means. In addition to helping build a much needed community service project, they will gain invaluable construction site experience.
The remainder of the funds will be used to partially cover expenses associated with including this project in a professional documentary film about municipal solid waste management and sustainability in Costa Rica. German filmmaker Ayana de Vos has been documenting the initiative from the very beginning, and funds from this campaign will allow her to shoot the project’s construction. When finished, the documentary film will educate a large audience not only about this important initiative, but more generally about issues of waste management in the tropics, enabling this project and the community of Nosara to become an example for sustainable recycling practices for other communities in Costa Rica and other tropical countries to follow.
The building design
The final design is decidedly modern, but inspired by local passive tropical design strategies. An elongated building form, consisting of three zones (a sorting facility, an open lobby, and support spaces) under a common roof is placed horizontally along the existing slope of the site, minimizing excavation, and impact to the site. An open entry lobby with a feature wall made out of up-cycled aluminum cans, and a landscaped seating area with views into the recycling area will enable the community to engage and be educated about the recycling process.
The building’s narrow plan is oriented to maximize passive cooling through cross ventilation and the roof geometry is optimized to capture prevailing breezes but protect from the Papagayos, seasonal gale-force winds. High ceilings and reflective roofing materials will further reduce heat buildup. The building’s structure will be made from local pochote trees that were sustainably grown on the project site, and salvaged materials will be used whenever possible for the walls and roof. During the wet season rainwater will be collected on the large roof, and stored in cisterns, for 100% of the facility’s water needs.
Design Competition Winners & Design Development Team: Eiman Alsakha, Vinny Ciaramella, Crystal Eksi, Karen Gomez, Jessica Jardinel, Karolina Kopiczko, Michael Koutsoubis, Dimitrios Malliakas, Wagdy Moussa, Austin Reed, Alfonso Rodriguez, Omar Serrano, Timothy Severance
Other student participants: Iga Bebel, Samuel Blythe, Janeille Calnick, Jesse Cardenas, Brian Cheung, James Chirinos, Andy Christoforou, Cali Conlin, Ben Costabile, Jonathan De Silva Johrden, Sean Dickens, Peter Eliason, John Fraschilla, Christopher Goodwin, David Hernandez, George Holz, Dan Horn, Aurelija Jara, Kelly Kuplicki, Steve Laris, Ryan McGrath, Michael Palica, Marcus Papangelopoulos, Chris Parrinello, James Petrocelli, Kristopher Pomilla, Adriana Prieto, Robert Ruggiero, Germin Sentshchev, Prince Shah, Zachary Thomas, Matt Torres, Victoria Torres, Elizabeth Weintraub
Advisors: Matthias Altwicker, Esteban Beita, Robert Cody, Janet Fink, Mathew Ford, Farzana Gandhi, Beyhan Karahan, Sarah Meyland, Jason Van Nest, William Rockwell, Giovanni Santamaria
Collaborators and Supporters in Costa Rica: VERITAS University, Hatillo Recycling Center, Escazu Recycling Center, Reciclarte, Tierra Nostra, A-01, GTZ-CYMA, Harmony Hotel, Giardino Tropicale, Lagarta Lodge, Reilly Family, Rancho Tico, Salagnac Architectos, Sustainable Nosara, Nosara Civic Association, Nosara Waste and Recycling Association, Nosara Chamber of TourismSpecial thanks to Dean Judith DiMaio and Associate Dean Frank Mruk, NYIT School of Architecture and Design
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