Past Program

Costa Rica: Design/Build Travel Studio

The Rhode Island School of Design has been engaged, since 2007, in collaborative studios with EHAVC University, the world’s foremost school of sustainable agriculture. The Wintersession 2014 studio will be the culmination of a year of research and design study on the development of a prototype classroom – off the grid, hi-tech/low-tech – for rural schools in the dry tropical region of Costa Rica.


Wintersession Travel Course
  • San José, Costa Rica
Winter 2014

Course Dates: Jan 6, 2014 — Feb 7, 2014

Open to RISD students, Brown University students
Academic Credits
  • Landscape Architecture
Course Numbers
  • LDAR-W202

Includes accommodation, field trips, local transportation, all meals, museum entrances, health and travel insurance.

Costa Rica: Design/Build Travel Studio
San José, Costa Rica 2014
Costa Rica: Design/Build Travel Studio
San José, Costa Rica 2014
Costa Rica: Design/Build Travel Studio
San José, Costa Rica 2014

About this Travel Course

In the field the students, along with EHAVC University, will finalize a selected design from this Fall’s RISD Innovation Studio. They will build the classroom and its landscape at the La Flor Campus of EHAVC University.


To design and build a classroom prototype that exhibits sustainable building practices in the dry tropics.

Design Principles

  • Use affordable materials and labor for construction.
  • Develop methods for utilizing local resources and building practices.
  • Implement replicable and understandable construction technology.
  • Employ energy efficient and environmentally responsible strategies for locating the building on the site and for controlling the interior environment.

Ultimately, the classroom, with its inside/outside learning environments, will demonstrate how integrating curriculum, teaching, energy and hi-tech systems, landscape and space will contribute to a transformative learning experience.


  • Gather in Providence, travel to Costa Rica
  • 4+ weeks working on the Design/Build Project with weekend excursions investigating sustainability in the dry tropics
  • Return to Providence, summary presentation

Student + Faculty Stories

Read more about Costa Rica: Design/Build in RISD News: Eco-friendly Construction in Costa Rica

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1:1 Advising Session

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