Costa Rica has been the single greatest teacher of my life because this area of the tropics is so ALIVE! I have had to reframe my perspective from an insulated, antiseptic Gringo into a bio-mimicking, probiotic Tarzan. No place in the world will test the structural integrity and water wicking capacity like the Southern Pacific zone of Costa Rica.
I had a hint of what was to be expected in my elder years growing up in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida as a child. My birth town is a boating Mecca where people go to throw their money into the water. The rule of thumb of boat ownership is that it takes 10% the value of the boat annually to maintain them correctly….. That’s why it’s much better to have a friend with a boat than to own it yourself.
Having a home in the rainforest is a direct corollary to boat ownership. You’re essentially living in a submarine because it’s always wet; 100% humidity. I inform all my clients that they are building a boat, not a house. After moving to the midwest, I marvel at the simplicity of low humidity construction. I should say low humidity and low termite construction. There’s a type of termite in Costa that will devour all woods. These little buggers were a huge contributing factor to me becoming a dome Mason.
Torrential Rains and 400+ tremors a year with killer termites creates a ton of considerations. This was the genesis of TECO Dome, or Tropical ECO Dome. My company engineers and fabricates, what I call, appropriate architecture for tropical environments. Large eves, cross ventilation with cupolas, raised flooring, and natural curves with local materials are just some of the features of our buildings. Of course, we also love our hemispheres (Domes). These tend to be the most resilient and bug proof buildings that we build.