Ciaramella is part of Team Poroso, which won a Facebook contest organized by his college when it received 3,146 votes for having the most favored architectural design.
Team Poroso also includes Wagdy Moussa from Egypt and Alfonzo Rodriguez, who is from Ecuador.
The idea for the contest stemmed from a trip his professor made to Nosara in 2009, during which he visited the local community board and asked what the city needs most, Ciaramella said.
The board’s response was that they need a recycling center or their dump would face closure.
“My professor wanted an opportunity to bring back our class or our university,” he said. “Eventually it became a competition for the school.”
The team’s recycling center is designed for Nosara’s tropical climate, where it rains for two or three months out of the year and then is dry, Ciaramella said.
“It’s a very extreme environment,” he said. “So you have to design very specific design elements for that area.”
The team studied the city’s already existing building and determined that they use cross ventilation, created by high ceilings and fragmented walls.
The upper parts of the building’s walls will be fragmented, Ciaramella said, to create a stack effect, in which hot air is pushed up and out through an opening, keeping the ground level cooler.
“The lower part of the wall is solid,” he said, “so this doesn’t allow for rain and animals to come in.”
The design calls for local, inexpensive materials. It requires four and six-foot planks of wood, so both skilled and unskilled laborers can easily assemble it, including his fellow students.
“It allows for minimal waste, so you don’t have to cut more or waste products,” Ciaramella said.
To prepare, NYIT arranged a class students can take next semester to learn the design and building stages.
Ideally, Ciaramella said, the class will travel to Nosara next summer to build the recycling center.
He said he’s looking forward to traveling and experiencing life in another place.
“It allows us to take what we learned in school and apply it very specifically to that location, to respond to that environment,” Ciaramella said. “What it’s doing is it’s creating an opportunity to visit outside New York and to see the conditions of both the people and the environment.”