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Dec 09 2011

Nine Students Win Competition to Develop Recycling Center in Costa Rica

Old Westbury, N.Y. (Dec. 9, 2011) – Nine architecture students will bring their creative designs and skills to Costa Rica to develop a recycling and education center – after thousands of people voted on Facebook in an innovative competition hosted by NYIT.

Two of the teams were chosen by judges while the third was chosen by voters in a competition that challenged students to design solutions for the growing waste removal problem in Nosara, a community on the Pacific coast. The students will present their work in Nosara in January 2012, then use feedback to refine the projects. 

Team Poroso became the public’s favorite by garnering the most votes out of 3,146 votes on a Facebook poll from Nov. 29 to Dec. 7. The NYIT and social media community voted for their favorite designs among seven proposals. Poroso’s design draws on characteristics of local tropical architecture, such as high ceilings, large overhangs, natural lighting and ventilation, and local materials. Team members include Vincenzo Ciaramella, Wagdy Moussa, and Alfonso Rodriguez.

A jury of professors from NYIT’s School of Architecture and Design initially selected two winning teams and kept their decision confidential until after the public voting process. They praised the teams – Duality and MCD Costa Rica – for simple and elegant ideas, good planning, and clear presentations. 

“It will be an invaluable experience for students to travel to Costa Rica to further develop ideas with community input,” said project leader Tobias Holler, AIA, assistant professor of architecture. “They will learn about building in a tropical environment, and experience first-hand the powerful role that design can play in improving life in a rural community.”   

Duality’s design focused on two elements: the recycling center and the education facility. The team also addressed the dry season and wet season of Nosara by developing a process to collect rainwater and reduce heat build-up in the facility by using reflective roofing materials, as well as high ceilings, and ventilation opening in the roof. Team members include Karen Gomez, Karolina Kopiczko, and Jessica Rose Jardinel.  

Meanwhile, MCD Costa Rica planned a design that would cause little impact on the Earth, placing an elongated building along the landscape. They proposed using trees that were previously cut down as well as recycled plastic bottles to construct the building. Their plan minimizes deforestation and also creates a covered educational space. Team members include Crystal Eksi, Michael Koutsoubis, and Dimitri Malliakas. Team Tectonic Nature received honorable mention for their project, which incorporated simple local building materials into their design.  

The NYIT architecture students will also refine their plans with Sarah Meyland, associate professor of environmental technology, and students from the School of Engineering and Computing Sciences during the spring semester. The project is part of the ongoing student-led architecture build (sLAB) initiative at NYIT’s School of Architecture and Design. It will involve the NYIT community service chapters of Freedom by Design and Engineers Without Borders. Veritas University in San Jose, Costa Rica will serve as the local partner university for the project.

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About NYIT
New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees in more than 90 fields of study, including architecture and design; arts and sciences; education; engineering and computing sciences; health professions; management; and osteopathic medicine. A non-profit independent, private institution of higher education, NYIT has more than 14,000 students attending campuses on Long Island and Manhattan, online, and at its global campuses. NYIT sponsors 11 NCAA Division II programs and one Division I team.
Led by President Edward Guiliano, NYIT is guided by its mission to provide career-oriented professional education, offer access to opportunity to all qualified students, and support applications-oriented research that benefits the larger world. To date, 89,000 graduates have received degrees from NYIT. For more information, visit



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