Las Catalinas is a magical place, and one intrinsic detail to creating this magic is its meticulous level of design. This is a testament to the unwavering commitment of the Design and Construction Management Services team to create a town that redefines the concept of "the good life" into something healthier, more connected, and more sustainable. For them, each home represents an opportunity to bring this purpose to life and highlight Las Catalinas’ design philosophy. Among the many delightful features that captivate visitors, one element that never fails to charm is town’s vibrant color palette.
Building Paradise: Planning First
Before delving into exterior decor, it is important to mention the amount of planning involved in designing at Las Catalinas. Using the principles of new urbanism, planning becomes holistic, considering natural elements in the Guanacaste region, such as creating street stunning vistas of pristine beaches, but also building to be responsive to the Costa Rican conditions. Structures need to deal well with periods of intense rain and sun. Walking around town, you will find ample overhanging ledges from covered balconies shelter from rain that also provide shade for the streets below. Buildings are designed so that most rooms feel comfortable with air flowing in from the outside and do not require air conditioning. Since spending time outdoors is highly desirable in Guanacaste’s climate, businesses and residences in town have ample outdoor spaces. With the powerful Costa Rican sun and the intense rainfall, roofs need to protect many outdoor living areas. Careful planning means that naturally, this attention to detail extends to the colors that grace our town.
Sara Bega, Senior Town Architect, and Diana Cascante, Development and Construction Director, shed light on the intricate process of selecting colors that can withstand the region's intense sun and frequent rainfall. "Every color will fade, and that's by design. We want the buildings to tell the story of the town's life," Sara explains. Having been a part of the Las Catalinas team for nearly a decade, she has personally witnessed the natural softening of the tones on the stucco buildings over time.
Diana, also a seasoned member of the Las Catalinas family with eight years of experience, further elucidates the process. She notes that colors with green or blue components tend to fade more than those with red or orange elements. "The blue-green buildings may initially appear vibrant because we paint them in these shades almost three levels darker than their eventual color," she reveals.
Nature: An Ever-Present Muse
In Las Catalinas, nature plays a dual role - it both inspires and guides color choices. Landscape is a very present factor considered when creating a pallet of tones. The design and construction team identifies colors that harmonize instead of competing with the natural surroundings. The natural context will also always change between the green season and summer, which must be considered. The endless greens change to golds and browns, and the natural palette offered to homeowners are colors that will look great all year round.
Landscapes of communal areas are often designed with colors that will contrast with the colors of the surrounding homes, giving depth and life to common spaces. Colors with contrasting elements play a pivotal role in bringing this vision to life. Bega explains, “The idea is if you are standing in any spot in Las Catalinas, you will always see layers and layers, and having colors that have contrast make this happen”
Guidelines and Palette Harmony
In the realm of architectural guidelines in Las Catalinas, personal color preferences take a back seat to the larger vision of unity and harmony within the town. Sarah's fondness for turquoise and Diana's inclination toward rich hues like black, gray, and moss green are not the dominating tones we find around town.
Initially, the town's homes adhered closely to the classic shades specified in the Design Guidelines. However, neighborhoods now operate under their own set of guidelines, complete with a pre-approved color palette. These guidelines are meticulously crafted to convey an intention for natural tones that seamlessly merge with the immediate natural context.
To maintain visual cohesion and the structural integrity of our buildings, changes of color are avoided within the same massing. This strategic choice reinforces the solidity of town’s constructions. The results are a harmonious town that displays pops of color, all contributing to an overall palette that is visually stunning and inviting to anyone exploring the area.
Over time, brighter tones have gradually found their way into Las Catalinas, extending beyond the original guidelines. The focus remains on how these colors interact with their surroundings rather than the specific hue. Homeowners have the freedom to request special colors, and the process involves collaboration with their project manager. Samples of the chosen color are created on-site, and pictures are taken for submission to the Architectural Review Committee for approval.
Take, for instance, the striking purple tone of 9 Paseo Miraflores. While gaining approval for such a jewel-toned hue might have been challenging in isolation, it found its place by drawing on the purple color of the windows of the Center of Joy. Colors distinguish materials or additive and subtractive elements, such as the Center of Joy windows. 9 Paseo Miraflores beautifully tied the neighborhood together in a sunset palette, bridging the two buildings seamlessly.
Experience the Magic of Las Catalinas
Las Catalinas is an oasis of beautiful architecture in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Stepping out of your door means immersing yourself in an engaging space where you can socialize, take care of daily activities, stay active, or participate in leisure, all while taking in great beauty. Whether it is the vibrant hues of town’s designed structures, or the breathtaking colors of nature enveloping town, every moment is a chance to enjoy your surroundings in Las Catalinas.
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