Tuesday 28 March 2023

Heritage Center Assures The Facade Of The Remodelled Gran Hotel Costa Rica Will Not Be “Agringado”

Grandson of the original builder of the Gran Hotel Costa Rica opposed the "Agringado" (Gringo Style) design for the remodeling the historical landmark

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The Heritage Center assures this will be facade of the remodeled Gran Hotel Costa Rica and not that one provided by the OBP Architects published a few days earlier. The only variant authorized is the color, shades of gray. Photo from the Ministerio de Cultura.

Which is it, black and white or shades of gray? And what about the new look that was published only a few days ago? Or the Arcadas?

The Heritage Center of the Ministry of Culture explained that the only variant, after the total remodeling of the historical landmark, the Gran Hotel Costa Rica, will be the color and that only shades of gray were authorized.

The cultural entity denied that colors of the downtown San Jose is going to be black and white, as shown on the images supplied a few day ago by OBP Arquitectos, the architectural firm in charge of the project.

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The renderings were published on the Q on Monday, June 5, following a report by La Nacion the day earlier, saying it received the renderings from OBP before publication.

Since, the remodeling of the Gran Hotel Costa Rica sparked controversy between the public

The photo published on Monday that sparked controversy by the public and specialists in architecture

and specialists in architecture, including a letter sent to the Ministry of Culture by José Joaquín Jiménez Méndez, grandson of Luis Paulino Jimenez Ortiz (promoter of the hotel construction in 1930), alarmed by the design change and the disappearance of the “arcadas” (arcades) suggested by the photos provided by OBP.


In the letter sent to La Nacion, Jimenez wrote, “The original facade is being replaced with a design ‘agrindado’ (Gringo Style) that is completely disagreeable with the Arcades, the National Theater, the Plaza de la Cultura and the square at the front, something unheard of and against the law (Ley 7555) of the National Heritage.”

This legislation, called Costa Rica’s Historic Architectural Heritage Law, was created in 1995 to ensure the preservation, protection, and preservation of the national historical-architectural heritage.

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Others who raised their voice against the change is former president Laura Chinchilla. On her Facebook account, Doña Laura, wrote,  “the work is a major remodeling and that when it comes to architecture and design it is a matter of taste, but in this case, it hurts me to see gone the essential features that characterized the architectural and historical work in the country.”

From Facebook

The Gran Hotel Costa Rica, in 2005, was declared a building of national historical and architectural heritage.

In the explanatory note, the Ministry of Culture added that the historical arcades on which the property is based will not be changed either.

The Colegio Federado de Ingenieros y Arquitectos (CFIA) – Federated College of Engineers and Architects – said it will join the Heritage Center to carry out the joint inspection of the work.

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Remodeling work on the Gran Hotel Costa Rica began in June 2016 and is expected to re-open before the end of this year.

The hotel is operated by the Elite Hotels and Resorts de Costa Rica chain, under a franchise agreement with Hilton Worldwide, under Hilton’s Curio Collection.

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