Past Program

Costa Rica: Building Community, Design-Build Studio in Costa Rica


Wintersession Travel Course
  • Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica
Winter 2009

Course Dates: Jan 5, 2009 — Feb 13, 2009

Open to RISD students, Brown University students
Academic Credits
  • Architecture
Course Numbers
  • ARCH W202 06

Program Details

This course will travel to the village of Puerto Viejo, in Costa Rica's Caribbean coast, to do a design-build project for the local community. Students will experiment with bamboo and other natural materials such as palm leaf and local woods, and will have the opportunity to study and understand the benefits of local building traditions (humid tropics) that rely exclusively on a full integration with the natural environment. The studio will also benefit from the area's extraordinary biodiversity and natural life that extends into everyday support systems such as natural medicine and sustainable thinking. In Puerto Viejo, students will identify project opportunities that will improve everyday conditions and make a difference in people’s lives. The course will have a supply of bamboo and the possibility of using other construction materials. There will be additional field trips around the area.

Wintersession Travel Courses are open to all RISD + Brown University students. To apply for a Wintersession Travel Course, you must:

  • attend an infosession with faculty (general or course-specific)
  • have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 at the time of application (Note: Students seeking exception to this academic policy should contact the Registrar at with any questions.)
  • be in good standing in terms of conduct and finances
  • First year students must provide approval from the Dean of Experimental & Foundation Studies as part of their applications.
  • Brown University students are eligible to apply, but priority will be given to RISD students.

Per Student Financial Service requirements, students who plan to travel on school-sponsored trips must first pay their student account in full. Students with an account balance are ineligible for travel and may forfeit any funds already used to book travel arrangements. Contact Student Financial Services at with any questions.

Co-Requisite Courses

The course fulfills the 6-credit design studio requirements for transfer students in the Department of Architecture, and also offers the option of a 6-credit elective for other departments with instructors’ permission. Open to Sophomore and above. ARCH majors only.

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1:1 Advising Session

Have questions? The RISD Global team is available to meet for a 1:1 advising session. We can give you more information about your study options, help you figure out which program makes sense for you, and assist you with the application process.

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