Dramatic aerial views of Texas A&M’s Soltis Center for Research and Education in Costa Rica enliven a video created by Julian Kang, associate professor of construction science, who is helping to lead a spring 2016 multidisciplinary studio at the center.
Kang shot the video during spring break 2016 while accompanying landscape architecture students who spent their class time designing proposals for additional Soltis Center facilities. He also videotaped the students in the center’s adjacent 54,000-acre rain forest.
Groups from four different Texas A&M departments also traveled to the center to work on the project over the course of the spring semester.
Students from the Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Sciences developed research and educational program proposals based on a survey, conducted by geography students of the physical and social landscape of region.
During a May 2016 minimester, construction science students will visit the center and use building information modeling software to create building plans and cost estimates based on the landscape architecture students’ design concepts.
The landscape architecture students also created videos of their stay at the center.
The collaborative studio is funded by a university Tier One Program grant, which supports education programs offering high-impact learning opportunities for students at Texas A&M.
Other educators participating in the grant include Eugenio Gonzalez, director of the Soltis Center; Chris Houser, associate professor of geography; Jun-Hyun Kim, assistant professor of landscape architecture; and Scott Shafer, professor of recreation, park and tourism sciences.
Established in 2009, the center, which reflects designs created by students in a multidisciplinary studio at Texas A&M in 2006, was built by Bill Soltis ’55, a mechanical engineering graduate, at his own expense.
Soltis, a retired innovator in the design and construction of building air control facilities, became a tireless advocate for preservation of the Costa Rican rainforest after several of his business ventures took him to the Central American nation.