In the past, traditional homes in Costa Rica typically tended to resemble design trends favored in Spain. Among the most common features scene in such homes was a central courtyard. The influence of other cultures combined with growing insecurity over the years has led to homes that are increasingly closed and more isolated. Recently, for the Solar Decathlon Europe, Tec Team Costa Rica chose to design a home that takes a dramatic depart from home designs of late and instead focus on traditional architectural designs while promoting strong communities, particularly among senior citizens.
The resulting home, Tropika, utilizes a variety of low-tech sustainability features, including natural lighting, cross-ventilation, and water treatment facilities. Constructed from exotic woods such as melina and teak, the home is comprised of a single room measuring less than 600 square feet in size, yet has been subdivided to ensure that all of the essential facilities are included. Funding for the project has come from financial institutions and private enterprise. Local artisans have also donated furniture to the project, providing a hint of cultural unity to the home.