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architecture from

human perspective Alejandra Alvarez Palma


creative portfolio
2008 - 2016

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design thinking structure
important aspects
empathy
feelings
well being
people

balance

nature conection
environment
urban structures

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About me
My architect definition is a person who with
his own study means, practices and expe-
riences of life, gives a creative solution to
the architectural problems, mainly howev-
er not exclusively. He or she also solves the
problems at different scales, from the ba-
sic phases to the project it self to the de-
tails at the end of the construction. For me
is highly important the human perspective in
the process of searching to consider the in-
clusive conceptualization. I think this area is
not only about the placing of ramps but also
that the architecture can be beautiful, ludic
and familiar for everyone who experience it.
It is a hard matter to decide whether the ar-
chitecture should be focused to the majority
who, for example, posses no disability or to
the minority who do lives with it. Everybody
should be able to enjoy the space, therefore
the challenge is to maintain this balance. In
other words my design strategy is not only
to focus on the site, or the form of the proj-
ect, but also to get to know the future user of
the building and to develop empathy towards
him.

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human in the city

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chacarita renovation
Chacarita, puntarenas (AcADEmic project)

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The project start as an investigation during
S
ITALE

CLINICA
HOSP

ED UCACIO
N BASIC
A
the design workshops that ended with an ur-
EBAIS ban project with the philosophy of the Land-
CENTROS DE EDUCACION
scape Urbanism theme. The analysis start
TECNICA
HOSPITAL
in the route 27 of Costa Rica. Whose con-

HOSPITALES

PRIVADO
EN LA ZONA PREDOMINA LA EMPRESA DE MENOR TAMAÑO YA SEA COMERCIO, SERVICIOS, INDUSTRIA Y AGRICULTU-
EDUCACION

CACION
CENTROS DE EDU
BASICA
N
struction
RA. ESTO REPRESENTA UNA is such recent
OPORTUNIDAD YA QUE ALthat a littleMAS
SER EL ENFOQUE it’sIMPORTANTE
been DE LA ECONOMIA DEL
IGACIO
INVEST
studied
CONOCIMIENTO, about the
LA ADMINISTRACION repercussions
Y LOS NEGOCIOS, TANTO LAof this con-
ECONOMIA COMO LA EDUCACION BRINDA
ES
PUBLICA

CLINIC
SIDAD

A
CAM
PU S
OPORTUNIDAD A LOS ESTUDIANTES DE ENCONTRAR TRABAJO EN LAS DIFERENTES EMPRESAS PARA CONTRIBUIR CON
MED nectivity
SU CRECIMIENTO element
O EMPEZAR between two of the greatest
LA SUYA PROPIA.
UNIVER

INS ICAME
AL ES U N
INS MOS E TOS

SERV
ICIO
S GE
NER UM
ALIM OS H UDIAN
ENT
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OSP TILE
poles of foreign trade in this country: Inter-
ITA S

TAM
IE NTO
S TIE
ND
AS
AC
ION
ESP
LAR
ECIA
IOS national Airport Juan Santamaria and Calde-
TRA EN
TR L

LTO
R IO
S
CA
SA
ET
EN
IM
IEN
ra Port. A search it’s made for the econom-
SU TO
TE
ACTIVIDADESic targets in the communities that surround
N SD
CO OR
SP SU EH
U ECONOMICAS
AN
SE OFES

S PE ES
RA
PR

TR RM PE
RV

DO ER DE
it. The processes happening in the 5000 territory
ICIO IONA

UI CA S
CIO

IB DO
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R
HO

ST S
are represented in a graphical way, creating
ME

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O
ERT

tools of data analysis. Therefore the zone


OPU

TOTAL
ME
AER

RIO

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with greater potential is the area so called


TRATAM
LA

AM
ALIMENTOS
SPITA

EN

Barranca-Chacarita, due its rapid growing


TO
IENTO
L HO

22329 TRABAJADORES
ERIA

population and territorial expansion 2500and bad


MAT

AE
RO
PU
ER
TO
terrain erosion. In brief the project concludes
on a rehabilitation of the slums reinforcing
PRODUCCION the local trade and the local economy, and
the fisical space projected from the natural
0
terrain forms.
30%

42,67 % DE LA FUERZA LABORAL


10 0% 11

PUNTARENAS
ESPARZA
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The project is looking for to integrate the ar-
tificial canal as a landscape development
resource. The housing zone are going to be
moved inland in order to reduce the flood risk
and also to stop the erosion of the artificial
coastline by re-planting mangrove trees. The
urban grid is determined by the water flow
streams, and the flops, because in that way
they wont damage the urban space, and the
urban space is not going to damage the nat-
ural streams. In this way the slum will trans-
form to be a better development zone, with-
out taken it out from the already established
trade and social networks.

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Following the garden philosophy of taking

umbrella pavillion good care of the Environment, it was a prior-


ity to make use of second hand everyday and
kalk, köln (bono project) easy to find materials. The reused materials
chosen where umbrellas, pallets, fishing nets
While working as a volunteer in my exchange and car wheels. The new buy materials where
year in Germany, I found a very interesting wood, screws, metal plates and concrete.
project. The main purpose of the exchange Everything purchased with the funds of the
was a cultural and personal growth, but Organisation.The structure should be easy to
also to make it reliable with my architectural assemble and disassemble with the help of
and urban studies. In the search i found the volunteers, in order to pack it away during the
Pflanzstelle, and I contacted with the Organ- winter time or replace the old materials.
isators to ask if it was possible to work there
because of the Urban and social impact in
the city of Cologne. The site is an Urban
Garden in the neighborhood of Kalk, where a
group of people has been creating an space
where the members of the community can
have access to gardening possibilities and
other urban activation events. Joggling, veg-
an grill, Fundraising food events, small fairs,
workshops, kids playground are among oth-
ers the activities that make the garden more
than a place to grow vegetables and herbs.
The sommer time is when most of the events
take place, and due the high temperatures
and long days, there is a constant need of
a small sheltered space to rest, in between
the wagons, and it has to be of a low cost,
prefab structure.

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By resolving the economic and material is-
sue is also important to consider the beauty
aspect. The umbrellas are by themselves a
design object, created to cover and protect
from the sun and rain, and together make a
composition of color and chaotic forms. That
composition with the other recycled materi-
als, the pallets and the car wheels harmonize
in the Urban garden chaotic beauty. The Pa-
villon covers part of the sommer Sun, but not
completely, in order to make it more pleasant
during the rare warm days of Germany.

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childrens joy
san ramón, Costa Rica (city project)

In my internship in the Municipality of my


home city in Costa Rica I was able to make a
good use of my architecture skills to propose
a new project given to the Engineering office.
The project is a waiting area in the Child Care
Office from San Ramón city, located in the
front of the current building, with a children
play area. The insecurity in the city is growing
and also the concern of building more secure
facades. The solution is normally post built
grids that makes the city and buildings make
look like prisons. In my propose the security
elements should make a good harmony with
the environment and the beauty of the interior
and exterior spaces.

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The aspects that are considered in the design
are the weather, security and the well beieng
of the user. The main user are the children
that come with their parents and have to wait
out to be attended at the office. A playful
space is necessary in order to maintain the
children occupied and help them to be dis-
tracted from their familiar custody issues.
The material plays a big role in the design,
with the wood and the big amounts of light
and air, the space envelop the children and
the visitors, to make a calm and ludic waiting
time in the play and waiting area.

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human and the nature
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mangrove museum
mata de limon, puntarenas (academic project)

The project is an exercise made during the


fourth year of the Architecture school. It is
located in a Mangrove very humid zone, with
a very high arrival of tourism. The philosophy
of the design workshop was the integration
of the building in the natural landscape. The
plan starts with a landscape touristic route of
the area, joining the main touristic attractions
like the beach, bridges, restaurants and
town Centre. My purpose with the project was
to continue the route and make it vertical in
order to make a stop and appreciate the view
of the landscape.

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The propose is looking for going beyond the
awareness of the environment protection
but also the appreciation of the beauty and
structure of the mangrove zones. The struc-
ture imitates the form of the trees and insert
itself in the natural environment without in-
fluencing it too much. The position and the
path around the structure is key to create the
illusion of being inside the mangrove.

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human in the erderly age

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elders place 1,5%

San José, costa rica (GRADUATE THESIS AND bono project) Eders, living in an Elders facility

66,64%
Living with many generations
families
98,5%
Elders living at home

33,36%
Living on their own

Costa Rica Groups of age in Costa Rica


65+ years old 6% 16%
25%
36% 25% 22%

20-65 years old 2035 2060


2008

-20 years old 58% 59% 53%

Countries with life expentancy over 77.5 years


Countries with with low fertility rate

My thesis starts with the concern of the rais-


ing age of the population in a developing
country. Costa Rica has invert great amounts
of money in the health and sanitary system
during the last 70 years, and that together
with the high cover of education has payed
off in the increase of the elder population an
the decrease of the birth rate, a phenom that
is already being given in the developed coun-
tries. The difference lies in the economic ca-
Relation old vrs young people in Costa Rica
pabilities of this small country, and the lack
of special infrastructure.

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The aging brain makes the orientation hard-
er for those who have advanced deteriora-
tion, and those moments of confusion create
stress in the elders. To avoid it or decrease
it, it is better to consider the familiar aspects
of orientation, by collecting schemes in the
memory of the elders. Those schemes are
made of sequences, and the sequences var-
ies from generation to generation and culture
to culture, but usually maintain certain simi-
larities. In the given cases, those similarities
can help with the orientation in spaces that
are designed familiar to those schemes in the
memories of the elders.

A key Element to help to solve the future cri-


sis is the creation of day care centers. There
is growing net of those places and the people
attending there helped with my investigation.
One of the methods was the recollection of
memories through out drawings. The elders
were able to express their design ideas and
memories, and those help to built a manual
with data to take in consideration.

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As part of the investigation it was also a req-
uisite to contribute with a Community bono
project, focused mainly in the social aspect.
There was important not only to put in prac-
tice the investigation, but also the acces-
sibility issues that come with a project with
this kind of user. Locate in the city of San
José, the day care of the district of Hatil-
lo needed a renovation with a second floor.
With bout elevators and stairs makes it better
for those who still can climb, to use the in-
termediate step. The material is an import-
ant aspect in the collective memory of the
elders, due the big amount of use of wood
and wood like materials in the housing de-
velopment of the country the ceilings, floors
and some walls are covered with it. The light
is indirect to avoid the flashes and intensity
contrast coming from the windows due the
slow light adaptation of the elderly eyes and
the nature elements take part in the spaces
because it was always a cultural aspect in the
past years.

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journey to the light
San José, costa rica

The project was made in the fifth year of the


architecture school. It started as an explo-
ration exercise with different data collection
technics. The process of design started with
the carving of soft materials and explora-
tion of the light cavities. Also was important
the sequences of the light cavities and how
it inspired the house space sequences. The
representation of the project was the creation
of models, and instead of computer renders
the representation 3d was made by hand and
pencil lines, and at the end the views were
studied by placing props cuted by hand and
extracted from magazines.

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CORTE LONGITUDINAL B-B
Scale: 1:75

CORTE LONGITUDINAL A-A


Scale: 1:75

The end idea was to build a house for and


elderly couple, focusing only on the project
by it self and an standard lot, and not con-
sidering the nature or urban environment. The
design result is a house full of light elements,
ramps and wood materials. The outside de-
sign was not important, because the exercise
consisted on a house made in the growing
private neighborhoods, where the exterior,
materials and facades are all the same, and
lack individuality, but the important tast was
the relation between the user and the interior
spaces.

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