Monteverde, Costa Rica (Summer)

students in Costa Rica

This 10-week summer course of study is designed to offer students the opportunity to live and work on ecological and social projects in a rural, but rapidly developing region in Costa Rica. 

Sustainable Futures is an interdisciplinary program in architecture, landscape architecture and planning involving five university partners and the Monteverde Institute. The 10-week course offers students the opportunity to live and work in a rural, but rapidly developing region on the Pacific slope in Costa Rica. This is a “service learning” engagement where studio work is focused on community-identified projects that help envision and create futures that are ecologically and socially just. Since the program’s inception in 1995, the Sustainable Futures program has contributed to planning, design, and construction throughout the area.

This studio focuses on ecological materials and making in the rain forest and includes hands-on opportunities to explore biomimicry, living structures, and repurposed materials. The three courses synthesize ideas of ecological practice across study, research, design, and making. The work focuses on generating responses to community requests to generate a public dialogue. In support of language development, students participate in Spanish language class and a homestay.

A fully equipped studio space is provided for students in the Monteverde Institute. Living quarters are provided by local families; a detailed questionnaire aids in matching students to families. 

Studio directors and faculty leads: Sean Burkholder, assistant professor of landscape and urban design, and Stephanie Cramer, adjunt faculty member in architecture