Costa Rica is a small country with only 51,000 km2 (19,691 mi2).Yet, a mixed urban and natural landscape can be appreciated. A short trip of about one hour, can combine city and mountain environments. In a moment you could be overlooking the Central Valley from the mountains, and a few minutes later you could be in the middle of downtown looking at the mountains surrounding the Valley. You can enjoy beautiful sunsets on the Pacific Ocean coastline or enjoy the Tropical Rainfores on the Caribbean.
Costa Rica is a paradise, rich in biodiversity. But not only that, over the years it has been home to a variety of architectural styles, which have adapted to different local traits. All of this has served to create a regional architectural style.
The specific use of materials, scales and shapes, have all contributed to identify the place where a masterpiece belongs. Also, architecture provides an answer to the needs of certain places and offer formal solutions to spaces in the appropriate sites. Costa Rican architecture’s development has occurred in phases. In the initial phase you could find a mixture of spanish, indigenous and colonial influences.
Costa Rican Architecture, the beginings
The first buildings, after Columbos arrival in 1502, where in the Spanish style. Colonial architecture started to proliferate up until the 16th century. As the coffee plantations became more frecuent, also, cultural buildings started to raise. This gave way to magnificent structures such as the renowned National Theater in San Jose.
Costa Rica’s cultural roots have highly influenced its century old architectural legacy. Religious buildings, schools and government buildings have become an important interest point for architectural site seeing. Not only because they represent the effort with which they were built. Also, because the represent the Costa Rican identity.
On the other hand, European and Spanish influence, have also contributed to Costa Rican architecture diversification. A walk around through the capital city, San José, displays the huge influence from styling currents derived from Bauhaus and Le Corbusier. Costa Rica, also, offers a variety of architectural styles. For example, ecclesiastical and neo-gothic architectural styles are present in important church buildings such as, the Parroquia de San Isidro de Coronado. There are also 100% metallic buildings, such as Buenaventura Corrales Bermudez School, in the heart of San Jose. But, you could also find influence from the Byzantine or the neo-arab styles. In recent years, however, Costa Rican architects have work hard to develop their own tropical contemporary architecture style, which is most suitable to the country and its adaptation to COVID-19 regulations.
Likely, any visitor will be able to capture and admire the diversification of an architectural style, influenced by natural exotic scenery. At the same time, any visitor might be able to find, in Costa Rica, a safe place to call home.
National Theater: a jewel of Costa Rican architecture.
Building from historicism architecture. The National Theater, considered one of the most important buildings in the history of Costa Rica. It also the greatest architectural jewel in the city of San Jose. Its construction has a profound meaning because it represents the Costa Rican decision of taking action. It is also a reminiscent of the economic stability provided by the coffee plantations and the political stability of the time when it was built. The National Theater serves to promote the production of art pieces of extremely high value. It also allows to public to observe and appreciate some of the most valuable art masterpieces the country has.
The National Theater is a national monument, benemeritus institution of national arts, architectural and historical patrimony, and national symbol of Costa Rica.
Parroquia de San Isidro de Coronado: a neo-gothic trait in Costa Rica.
The church of San Isidro is a catholic church building in Costa Rica. Construction was completed around 1935. It has a neo-gothic style. It is a major highlight for the city of Coronado and must stop place for anyone coming to this town.
National Stadium: one of the most modern pieces in Costa Rica.
It is a place for sporting events and concerts. It also has office spaces for government administrative purposes. The National Stadium is mostly use for soccer games, mainly for the National Team. It also hosts athletic events. La Joya de La Sabana, as Ticos call it because of its majestic and modern architecture, and the place where it is located, is the most modern soccer stadium and with the most advanced technology in Central America and the Caribbean. The National Stadium has become an iconic structure for the city of San Jose. Mainly, because it towers among the urban scenery, bringing beauty and modernism to the capital of the country.
Jade Museum: a house for art and culture.
The Jade and Pre Columbian Culture Museum, or simply called the Jade Museum, is a historic, cultural and archaeological museum located in San Jose, Costa Rica. It shelters an archaeological collection of pieces made of ceramics, bone, wood, conch-shell, stone and other materials. The enormous amount of pieces and utensils made of semi precious stones known as jade account for one of the Museum’s main attraction. This collection is considered the largest in the world for this type of precious stone. Today, the Jade Museum is considered an important place to promote the Costa Rican heritage.
The Yellow House: the foundational vestige of the Costa Rican urban heritage.
This building is located in the city of San Jose. It has a neo-colonial architectural style with neo-barrocal decorations. The Yellow House, considered a foundational vestige of the Costa Rican urban heritage. It received the declaration for being a national monument, and historic and architectural patrimony of Costa Rica. It currently serves as the office of the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto.
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