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Nov 29 2011

Students Compete in Design-Build Initiative for Costa Rica

Old Westbury, N.Y. (Nov. 29, 2011) – NYIT students are competing for nine spots to travel to Costa Rica to create a recycling and education center, as part of an interdisciplinary initiative – and the NYIT community will select some of the winners.

More than 50 students from the School of Architecture and Design proposed ideas and renderings for the center, which will address the growing waste removal problem in Nosara, a small community on the Pacific coast. Three teams will be chosen to travel in January 2012 to present their work to the community, then use feedback to refine the projects.

The NYIT community will have an opportunity to vote on favorite projects through a competition on Facebook. Voting begins on Tuesday, Nov. 29 and closes on Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 9 p.m. EST. The team with the most votes will travel with two teams previously selected by a panel of judges on Nov. 28.

The project will help students learn to design and build structures. The students’ entries range from repurposing used shipping pallets as building material to innovative roof geometries for building ventilation.

The ideas are the basis for an interdisciplinary project with faculty and students from the School of Architecture and Design and the School of Engineering and Computing Sciences.  It is led by Tobias Holler, AIA, LEED AP, assistant professor of architecture, and Sarah Meyland, associate professor of environmental technology.

They will research Costa Rica’s tropical forest ecosystem for possible architectural and engineering strategies, and will apply this research to the design and construction of an actual building. Later, the groups will help local volunteers construct the building in Costa Rica.

“This project is an excellent opportunity for students to help solve a pressing need in a rural community through applications-oriented research and career-oriented professional education,” said Holler. “I am very impressed with the enthusiasm, hard work, and talent of our students who are working on this outside of class, in addition to their already busy schedules.”

The NYIT team has an opportunity to creatively explore the concepts of passive tropical architecture, while experimenting with innovative ways to use local materials and building techniques, Holler said. The project echoes his research on using environmental performance as a generator for architectural form.

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.

Vote for your favorite projects!

  1. Become a fan of the Nosara Design Build Studio NYIT Facebook page.
  2. Review all seven finalists’ proposals under the photos tab, and feel free to comment. We want to hear your thoughts.
  3. Vote for your favorite project by submitting your vote to the online poll under the “questions” tab on the Facebook site.
  4. Spread the word. We want to get as many people in the community as possible engaged in the process.

Voting will begin on Tuesday, Nov. 29 and close on Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 9 p.m. EST.

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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