As the leading coffee producer of organic shade-grown coffee in Costa Rica, Café Britt tapped Gensler to design a highly sustainable headquarters that would mirror the company’s core values, embody the brand’s environmental responsibility ethos, and provide a progressive work environment to support flexibility and innovation. Optimizing the building's form and orientation improves energy performance, allowing on-site photovoltaics to generate 103% of needed energy. Through such climate action strategies, Gensler’s Climate & Sustainability consultants designed the headquarters to achieve LEED Platinum Certification.
The building’s orientation reduces solar exposure on the east and west facades by shading the longer north and south facades with roof overhangs, while the high reflectance roof minimizes heat gain. Operable windows and a collapsible exterior opening increase natural cross-ventilation throughout the space, allowing occupants to control the temperature on optimal days and access fresh outdoor air. Sustainable materials, including renewable cork flooring, create a warm atmosphere for Café Britt’s new workspace.
By elevating the building, the team brought some of the vehicular circulation and parking underneath, reducing the ground floor footprint while maximizing views of the adjacent coffee plantation and mountains on the second floor. The headquarters design features open workstations around its perimeter, while glass-fronted offices and meeting rooms are placed in the core, promoting access to natural light and views for all team members. To maximize workplace flexibility, the boundaries between departments are soft and fluid — allowing individual departments to expand, contract, or relocate with minimal impact on the physical infrastructure.