Costa Rica’s first convention center is a milestone in sustainable design in a country that pioneered eco-tourism and remains committed to a forward-looking green ethos. Sitting in a former brownfield, this 15,000-square-meter facility doesn’t just preach sustainability; it practices it. Parking areas are interlaced with endemic tropical planting and extensive rainwater management bio-swales — a critical consideration for site design in any tropical environment.
Reforestation of the surrounding area epitomizes Costa Rica’s ongoing commitment to offset carbon production through the protection of naturally occurring vegetation. The convention center’s design yielded a savings of 43% in water with the use of efficient accessories and a 50% reduction in the use of drinking water for irrigation by reusing water from the treatment plant. Through the use of sustainable materials, renewable energy, outdoor air recirculation, and other climate action strategies, Gensler’s sustainable design team helped the client achieve LEED Gold certification.
The entrance rotunda includes a perforated aluminum scrim adorned with silhouettes of some of Costa Rica’s best-loved fauna and flora. The pre-function space is faced with a louvered terracotta glass wall, nine meters in height, which creates a visual connection to the lush garden where five meeting pods resemble pebbles in a river of greenery. The primary, 5,000-square-meter convention hall is lit with daylight-harvesting solar tubes that illuminate translucent white fabric sails. Five additional adjustable ballrooms, offices, and an extensive full-service kitchen complete the space.