other selected projects
A Pool in the Mountain
Margaritas perforated swimming pool roof
2013 - Mention, XII Biennal of Puerto Rico - “Boys and Girls Club's pool roof/Las Margaritas”
This intervention was designed to provide security and shelter to an existing pool facility, in the San Juan neighborhood of Canteras, for the NGO The Boys and Girls Club of Puerto Rico. The intervention adheres to the following design premises:
It is a low budget proposal, with an estimated investment of $48,000.00 (forty-eight thousand dollars).
The material and construction selected - galvanized steel frames and metal sheets - allow for quick construction time and a minimal disruption to the existing site.
The plasma cut metal sheet patterns and color (light blue) are inspired in the Boys and Girls organization logo. The idea is that the logo inspired pattern will project on the pool area’s floor and walls as patterns of light and the reflections of that light off the water will change throughout the day; thus, constantly transforming the atmosphere of the pool.
The perforations will also reduce the quantity of direct sunlight that enters the pool area, reducing the children’s exposure to direct sunlight.
The perforations will also make possible for the children to play in the ‘fresh air’ while being in a secure area (the Peninsula de Canteras’ community is a high crime zone).
The existing pool floor will be raised (to a 4’-0” maximum depth) in order to make it safer for smaller children.
2005- Honor Award, IX Bienal of Puerto Rico
The design of this single-family residence is based on the idea of an introverted and spiritual environment that acts as a refuge from the hostility of the surrounding city. The design proposes to use the maximum capacity of this small plot of land. Thus, an elaborate sequence of interior, semi-interior spaces, and patios and will take place throughout the residence. This spatial sequence culminates in a living space roofed by four large skylights “pin wheeling” around an enclosed interior pool. Although the house has a few exterior openings, interior ventilation and illumination will be achieved primarily through the series of patios mentioned above. The exterior openings will be protected by plasma-cut Corten steel and aluminum panels. The minimalist expression of the house is intended as a counterpart to the visual chaos of its surroundings.
Casa Cabo Rojo
This compact, low-budget and sustainable house had been designed to take advantage of its location in the southwestern town of Cabo Rojo. The name of the town is Spanish for ‘red cape’, because the prevalence of the reddish tone terrain. Thus, the dominant color of the exterior of the house is red-based. Likewise, the employment of plasma cut aluminum metalwork in the form of traditional ironwork, will connect the house to an important vernacular building element. The house will use sustainable technologies such as a highly insulating structure (using ‘M2’ panels), the collection of rainwater, the employment of a grey water system and intensive use of natural lighting and ventilation. Although the design of this house relies on modular components, a great effort has been put into its integration to the existing site. An exterior cylinder, opens to the sky using perforated ironwork, is part of the bathroom design that also tries to make a sensorial connection between its habitants and nature.
Boys and Girls Club
2012 - A.I.A. UnBuilt Design Honor Award - ‘Boys and Girls Club, Bayamón
The design of the new facilities for the non-profit organization that provides services to the young is located in one of the most troubled zones in the metropolitan area of San Juan, Puerto Rico. The design follows the following ideas:
A tapestry of interior and exterior spaces aims to provide a new reality that will contrast with the hostile physical and social surroundings. The patios gain a central relevance as a place for gathering and play. Every major interior space is permeable to the exterior and opens up to at least one patio. This strategy works with the possibilities that the tropical climate of the island provides: a complete integration of interior and exterior realities.
A datum organizes the different program levels and creates a barrier to the very aggressive avenue that runs along the north side of the site. Responding to a long, narrow site, the datum acts as a central spine that contains circulation communicating with different areas as well as mediating between the 8’ elevation difference between one end of the building and the other. It is built of exposed concrete with light blue coloring (similar to the Boys and Girls Clubs institutional logo), the datum connects the children areas, the classrooms, the sports indoor court and the teen areas, using a continuous ramp. The two ends are flanked by control points, with reception on one end and administration on the other. The serviced areas are defined in white expressing a change in materiality (to M2 panels).
The use of natural light gives hierarchy to spaces. Lighting tapestries occur within the circulation areas, on small interior patios or are filtered through larger skylights. Such effects occur when solar rays pass through metal work (used for security and as hurricane protection) perforated with Boys and Girls logo inspired patterns. Likewise, direct light filtered through existing and new trees and palms will define the exterior spaces.
Sustainable aspects are an integral to the project. The project is set to be 90% built using thermal efficient concrete panels (M2), it will collect and reuse rainwater, will use a great deal of natural lighting and cross ventilation (with 90% of spaces being A/C free), and will use solar panels to generate some of its electricity.
The landscape design is an integral part of the scheme. The sequence of patios complements the interior spatial sequences. From east to west there is an olfactory patio (with scent producing plants and trees like the Ylang-Ylang) taking advantage of the prevailing trade wind direction to perfume the main spaces; a palm tree patio in order to ensure an open space for children to play; a fruit tree and vegetable patio for the teens to cultivate and, finally, a 'color' zone' that will generate different tones to the parking space.
The design of Lumen 2 aims to create a solar lamp that does not look like a solar lamp, so both the solar panel and the power pack (which includes batteries and controller) are not readily visible as in many other models available in the market. More importantly, Lumen 2 has two high input LED lamps, it is vandal proof, night sky friendly and low maintenance, which makes it the most efficient and cost-effective lamp in the market
2012- A.I.A. Honor Award
The design is a low budget solution for a showroom of home equipment and appliances (for kitchens and bathrooms). The design came to form following these premises:
Neutral space he new structure has primarily a neutral ambiance in order to function as a background for the merchandise shown. White and gray tones dominate the facade as well as the interior. The only exception are two red color areas, derived from the red on the store logo, located on the entrance vertical skylight and the wall of the stair to the second floor of the showroom. The facade is as open as possible, and has different levels in order to exhibit different goods.
Light and sound - the store uses natural light to function during the daytime. Natural light defines the entrance and the main sequence; it washes the back wall of the store and brings the fountain to life. The fountain was created using showerheads to directly and humorously allude to the store offerings. It also provides background sound that helps to create a relaxing viewing experience.
Concrete finishes and low budget - Concrete is the most abundant and inexpensive material on the island. The construction was performed by non-specialized workers so some of the surfaces were left rough – as a design element – rather than trying to hide the imperfections. The rough exposed finishes were complemented by smooth plaster surfaces. The intervention relied on the reuse parts of an pre-existing structure and the use of reinforced concrete on the peripheral interventions (the main interventions occurred on the periphery of the site, leaving the stair location and the existing floor levels).
2007- A.I.A. UnBuilt Design Honor Award
This house has been designed according to the following premises:
This house is designed around a physical footprint of 774 sq. ft. (71.9 sq. mt.), as a way of proposing more efficient compact single-family housing for an environment like Puerto Rico, which is a small island that can no longer support the inefficient typical suburban model home common to continental areas. Yet, in spite of its reduced physical footprint, the total area of the house is 2,122 sq. ft. (197.1 sq. mt.) of living area.
The effective square footage of the house can be enlarged through the use of some integrated canvas retractable roofs that can be prolonged to cover the adjoining terrace.
Most significantly, the ecological footprint of the house is considerably reduced. This four-bedroom dwelling is completely energy and water efficient through the use of photovoltaic panels, a grey water system and a rainwater cistern (collected by the roof and terraces surfaces). Use of an ‘intelligent house system’ will smartly manage all these components.
The plan of the house is open on the east and west sides to assure an effective cross ventilation (through perforated aluminum and movable glass windows). All the services are located on the southern elevation to ensure thermal absorption through the greater thermal mass of the service module.
The house section was designed to take advantage of direct and indirect natural lighting by opening the upper level of the residence to the south.
A triple height space in the central area of the house will allow hot air currents to circulate out of the main spaces through the top of the house.
The basic construction uses pre-fabricated steel structure and iron reinforced polyurethane panels with an exterior concrete finish. Such panels are light, economical, and provide exceptional thermal and sound insulation. The photovoltaic/solar and water heater panels on the rooftop as well as the composite wood jalousie-like cladding on the south façade will provide additional thermal insulation.
2011- National Prize, Bienal of Puerto Rico CAAPPR
The design of this facility follows the following premises:
The design houses three main pools (swimming/polo, diving/synchronized swimming and practice/warm-up) that, against convention, were arranged separately from each other to gain functional and spatial autonomy. Circulation paths mediate between the landscaping and the sports areas unifying the pool areas. The circulation sequences are enhanced by interior patios that double as gathering areas.
The compact and contained layout of the main building maximizes green spaces. Most of the existing trees where saved and incorporated into the project. Also, in section the building follows pre-existing contour levels in order to minimize its visual impact. Additional seating areas are resolved in section using an earth berm covered with grass. Natural lighting and ventilation is present in all principal spaces.
A gallery runs from north to south serving as an access the top portion of the grass-covered berm. It is partly perforated with windows whose shape derives from the forms of the RUM (Recinto Universitario de Mayagüez) institutional logo.
A blank wall with cantilevered diving platforms enhances the scenographic and performative aspects of the diving competition. Therefore, stairs and access areas are hidden behind the diving wall in order to focus the spectators’ attention solely on the diving exercises.
Vertical skylights double as air chimneys that allow the hot air to escape the main spaces via opened fixed aluminum jalousies. These skylights also articulate entrance areas as well as defining hierarchical spaces.
The typography for the ‘Natatorio’ logo was designed as part of the project.
Exposed concrete surfaces with different patterns where used in order to control costs and minimize maintenance.
As a future phase, the public seating roof will be incorporated as well as its integrated lighting system.
The design of the Dujo bench and the Dujo stool is inspired by the ceremonial seats of the Taíno Indians, an aboriginal tribe that resided in the Caribean in pre-Columbian times. Such seats (called dujos) where made in wood or stone and where usually used by the tribes’ sorcerers and chiefs. Their curvili-near shapes are metaphors of mythical and political power. The Dujos were designed to be positioned in a new park that face the sea in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Consequently, the idea was to convey the ceremonial qualities of the original dujo but in a contemporary setting and material (polished exposed concrete with stainless steel reinforcement bars). The Dujos design allows for numerous configurations while maintaining a unitary wave effect in the seating area. The design of the benches is currently incorporated as part of the standard catalog of an urban furniture company located in Barcelona, Spain (paradoxically closing the historical cycle).
Casa Santiago Vargas
The design of this single-family residence is based on the idea of introverted and spiritual spaces that acts as a refuge from the hostility of the surrounding environment. The design proposes an elaborate sequence of interior, semi-interior spaces, and patios that will take place throughout the residence. Although the house has a few exterior openings, interior ventilation and illumination will be achieved primarily through the series of patios mentioned above
Rio Piedras Building
This design relies in the recycling and renovation of an existing structure in Rio Piedras, a distressed urban center in the San Juan metropolitan area.
The architects took a primordial role in the selection of the existing building and location. The existing building is a 1940’s structure in great need of repair. The architects saw a potential for its re-use as an office building, because its proximity to the urban train station and because of its centralized location (the building is flanked on a side by a narrow pedestrian walkway that connects to downtown Rio Piedras).
Casa del Castillo
Davis. Fúster Arquitectos
2004 - A.I.A. Honor Award
This 3,900 sq. ft. three level structure opens entirely to the sea which lies in front of it. In this way the house bridges between the ocean and the land. The domestic areas are organized around a triple-height space that alludes to the function and scale of the interior patios of the colonial houses. The patio is visually and functionally an extension of the hall and the dinning room. It brings natural lighting and ventilation to the residence. The patio space culminates on the ground floor with a circular pool that is treated as a pond flanking the existing garage annex. The triple height space will be lighted by means of several cylindrical shaped skylights. The skylights in this house are employed as a way to celebrate the intense light of the Caribbean by re-articulating the traditional use of colored glass and surfaces around light openings. The façade is treated as a pervious surface that contains a giant window that frames the view of the sea from the second and third level. All the rooms in this house will be naturally illuminated and ventilated. Additionally, the back of the house is dominated by a ‘brise-soleil’ that neutralizes the impact of the sun in the south façade.The diaphanous and transparent qualities of the north and south facades contrast with the opacity and impermeability of the sides. Due to the inadequacy of lateral views, this elevation was designed with minimal apertures; the few windows are framed by ‘L’ shaped eaves that offer protection from sun and rain.
Davis, Fúster Arquitectos
This design for a single-family residence for Indian immigrants, proposes a solution for the duality between the need for climatic and acoustic protection from a heavily transited avenue in the front of the house and the client’s requirement that the house open up directly to the patio. The two level structure, approximately 1,900 sq. ft., spans from one side of the lot to the other mediating between the busy and aggressive front facing the avenue and the domestic and private functions.
These domestic areas are organized around a patio on the quieter and cooler north side of the property. The patio is visually and functionally an extension of the hall and the dinning room. It will bring natural lighting and ventilation to the residence. The patio space culminates with a lap pool that is treated as a pond flanking the existing garage annex.
Marketplace Rio Piedras
Davis, Fúster Arquitectos
2004- A.I.A. Mention
The Rio Piedras Market Place is the largest and most important public market in Puerto Rico. n spite of the existing building's functional and symbolic importance, its previous condition had major flaws that made its intense institutional use ineffective. With minimalist interventions in form, but radical in content, the design aimed at augmenting the building's potential as an urban space. Recalling our tropical and Caribbean condition, an all jalousie facade was used to neutralize the visual chaos that exists in the area. " An emphasis is given to natural light through the use of multiple conical skylights that perforate most of the eight vaults that roof the main space and with the creation of an interior courtyard at the end of the vaulted space that is topped with a green skylight.
Carolina Fine Arts School
Davis, Fúster Arquitectos
2000- A.I.A. Honor Award
This project -specialized school defined by a complex program- is committed to the maximum recycling of existing structures and to the physical unification of these detached buildings. The development incorporates existing and new structures by creating exterior areas and spatial sequences that allude to the traditional urban center of the town of Carolina. The four (4) different fine arts departments, auxiliary buildings, and a 500-seat theater are organized around courtyards and plazas, each one with its own character and particular function. The incorporation of nature and the exploitation of detail creates new plastic and spatial possibilities in the exploration of a contemporary Caribbean esthetic. Elements such as the iron grille, the framing of façades, containment walls, natural light/ventilation and the "plastic" expression of reinforced concrete (wide overhangs, inverted beams, etc.), take on particular importance when they are viewed through the physical and cultural realities that inform our region. The complex alludes to the fortifications in Old San Juan -magnificent building solutions to the problem of geometric disjunction. This project was reviewed by 'Florida/Caribbean Architect' magazine (Spring, 1988), in 'El Nuevo Dia' newspaper 'Revista Domingo' section (March 5, 2000). and Architectural Record (February 2002).