By Ellen Zoe Golden
As an architect Rodolfo Tinoco has been involved in some creative projects both here in Costa Rica and in Los Angeles, California. In San José, he had a hand in the Children’s Museum Auditorium and Fidelita University, and had stints with LA’s RoTo Architects, and at Gensler, one of the largest firms in the world. Upon returning home to Costa Rica, he created LSD Architects, a unique sustainable firm with a long list of projects around the country, including, among others, several design and construction projects for high quality tourism, residential and commercial developments like 11 hectares in the Nicoya Peninsula, Playa Hermosa, Malpais for the Family Hecht, as well as work for Lewis Halpert of Sycamore Inc., A & LJ Investment GROUP, Quiros Law, 506 Developers, AyA and the Puritec GES effort to develop a new Aqueduct for Playa Hermosa, Jaco. In Playa Grande, Tinoco has a high quality, sustainable residential complex in the works, and here in Tamarindo there a new urban beach hotel going up, as is a Recyling Center for Asociacion de Desarolla Integral de Tamarindo (ADIT).
Can you say busy? THE Tamarindo News got a word in regardless.
THE Tamarindo News: Where you born in San Jose? Where did you study architecture?
Rodolfo Tinoco: I was born and raised in San Jose. I studied architecture there at the Universidad del Diseno, Facultad de Arquitectura y Estudios Ambientales. I’ve always felt the urge to be creative and to make things better, and our sustainable approach to architecture allows us to get involved with our communities, propose new ways to be sustainable and create spaces that enrich our relationship with nature. The idea of creating buildings immediately caught my attention because when practicing architecture you get to explore creativity in unimagined ways, but you also have the challenge of having to scientifically prove that what you’re designing works. I’ve liked drawing and creating things since I was a kid, my grandma and mom use to paint and were always getting me into it , and my dad has always been a creative mind, he used to build toys and spaces for me, so I guess I was very influenced by them.
TTN: You have an extensive work history in the United States. Which project there was your favorite?
RT: I worked in LA for five years right after I graduated from architecture school. I initially worked for RoTo Architects and then for Gensler, the second largest architecture firm in the world. While working at RoTo I was part of the team that won a competition and designed the Pacoima City Center, and while working at Gensler I was involved in the design of the LA Live, a 62-story tower in downtown LA for the Ritz Carlton and JW Marriot.
TTN: Why did you return to Costa Rica?
RT: While living in LA I always felt I wanted to return to Costa Rica to apply what I was learning. Then, in 2007, the opportunity of designing a small boutique hotel in Guanacaste led to the idea of starting an architecture studio in Tamarindo, so my business partners and I moved to Tamarindo 12 years ago and founded Laboratory Sustaining Design (LSD Architects).
TTN: Talk a little about LSD.
RT: Our architecture studio called Laboratory Sustaining Design (LSD Architects) was co-founded with my business partner and longtime friend Luis Mauricio Solis. We were pioneers on sustainable architecture here in Guanacaste. Since we came here, we were preaching the need of creating sustainable architecture, use of regional materials and the proper relation of the climate and natural surroundings. But back then, developers were much influenced by a dying boom called “Spanish-colonial style.” A decade later the market has changed and now sustainability is the everyday discourse on the development-design world. LSD is devoted to creating contemporary sustainable architecture. On our website there’s more info (www.lsd.cr).
TTN: How are you involved with ADIT?
RT: We’ve always been deeply involved with the community trying to help to make Tamarindo a better place. It’s already an amazing town but there’s definitely a need to evolve towards a community organized-prototypical beach town instead of everybody doing whatever they want in a corrupt chaotic development. LSD has always been involved with ADIT since their foundation and we also used to help Pro-Mejoras de Tamarindo when they were the representatives of our community before ADIT. We’ve always offered our services to help by designing and building spaces needed by the community. We were part of a group that designed a Master Plan for Tamarindo 15 years ago. We designed a prototype for a Tamarindo Bus Stop, and we also designed and built the first Lifeguard Tower which was uninstalled to be re-built in a different location. And we have also been involved in the design of the Public Restrooms for the main parking lot area of Tamarindo, and are also working with the community to promote a Recycling Center for Tamarindo. We are involved with ADIT because we believe in making an effort to make our community a better place for us and our future generations. We are surfers-architects, learning how to relate better to nature.
TNN: What else does LSD have going on?
RT: Right now, we are working on a variety of projects from small public to mid-scale private hotels and residences. Some of our interesting projects include a small boutique hotel that promotes regional permaculture, a sustainable off-the-grid residential development, and a green-urban office center in San Jose. We are also in the production of 100% sustainable residential prototypes that will be released in the next two years.