Dekton shapes the powerful façade of the Costa Rican Legislative Assembly building, winner of the Macael 2021 Award
San José (Costa Rica)
The impressive façade of the building that houses Costa Rica’s Legislative Assembly symbolises ‘the horizontality of democracy, where the people are above the government’, explains Salinas Arquitectura, the studio in charge of the project. The 5,000 square metre building consists of a central volume supported by four columns clad in Dekton, in which a timeless, enduring and solid aesthetic has been developed, in keeping with the historical context of the capital, San José, where it is located. Conceived with sustainability in mind, it features groundwater collection systems, cross-ventilation and an automated structure of slits to capture sunlight.
All these values and characteristics led this architecture to win the Macael International Award for Latin America in 2021. Specifically, the Cosentino Group valued ‘its architectural and aesthetic concept, where history, sustainability and nature play a fundamental role; its research work and selection of materials to become a truly green building; and its commitment to a product such as Dekton, born in the Comarca del Mármol region’.
An iconic and sustainable design
‘The values of the building’s design are based on the government of Latin America’s first democracy, which aims to be transparent where the people can see it act,’ explains the architect. ‘It was conceived from a historical point of view with the aim of being an ancient architecture and showing that nature conservation for which the country is well known,’ he adds.
In terms of sustainability, the building is erected on a foundation that allows for groundwater collection and is designed to take advantage of cross-ventilation. It also has a system of squares, ‘so that people can pass through and walk from side to side’, explain the designers. ‘Furthermore, the exterior openings form an automated slit structure that allows the building to breathe with solar energy,’ they continue.
It is virtually maintenance-free and most of the materials used are domestic. ‘Those that are not have been chosen for the added value they bring to the low-maintenance project concept’, as is the case with Dekton. ‘It will allow us to develop it further because of the area in which it is located and we expect it to be an agent of constructive growth,’ they say.
Dekton on all four columns
In keeping with Costa Rica’s rich natural environment, the design team chose Dekton Blanc Concrete to clad the four columns on which the large volumetric body of the building rests. This aged white with small spots and veins in light grey and beige provides a rich contrast to the rest of the façade and contributes, as a carbon-neutral material throughout its life cycle, to the sustainable concept of the project. In addition, its high resistance to stains, scratches and sudden changes in temperature, as well as its easy maintenance, ensure that it will remain as good as new in the future.
The ground floor of the building was clad with 8 mm thick Dekton panels using a cement-based adhesive system suitable for working with large format pieces and a minimum joint between panels of 5 mm. Thanks to its joints and width, it achieves an appearance of continuity and is an ideal solution for cladding the substrate in a high-traffic area subject to abrasions and knocks, thus reducing maintenance costs and giving the building a more representative image in its entrance area. Dekton has also been used for the base of the building, in the area of the continuous bench, for the walls adjacent to the entrance and for the roof of the entrance area.