Costa Rica is a Central American country with coastlines both on the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean. It is essentially a tropical land filled with rainforests, exotic beaches and volcanos, as well as many notable innovative and sustainable examples of architectural buildings. Its traditional architecture originates from the country’s pre-Colombian era and Spanish colonial influence, with the National Theatre and Metropolitan Cathedral being some of its most famous architectural landmarks. Costa Rica’s capital city, San José, is characterized by its modern, high-rise architecture, paired with small albeit luxurious traditional single-store houses preserved from the late 1800s. At that time, San José was the second most technologically advanced city in America, installing public city lights and electricity to its wider city fabric.
This vision for technological innovation has carried through to contemporary Costa Rican architecture, spreading beyond its densely populated cities and creating architectural designs that stand harmoniously — not to mention sustainably — in nature. One notable example is Benjamin Garcia Saxe’s Casa Flotanta, or “floating house,” on a steep slope in Puntarenas Province. The house is raised on wooden pillars, creating a delicate intervention on the surrounding terrain. Minimizing building footprint, especially within the Costa Rican rainforests and tropical landscapes, is a wider philosophy shared by Costa Rican architects. Besides designing buildings that harmoniously blend with the surrounding environments, architects use locally sourced materials and sustainable technologies such as rainwater harvesting systems, solar power and natural ventilation techniques, prioritizing the country’s sustainability and preservation of its natural heritage.
With so many architecture firms to choose from, it’s challenging for clients to identify the industry leaders that will be an ideal fit for their project needs. Fortunately, Architizer can provide guidance on the top design firms in Costa Rica based on more than a decade of data and industry knowledge.
How are these architecture firms ranked?
The following ranking has been created according to key statistics that demonstrate each firm’s level of architectural excellence. The following metrics have been accumulated to establish each architecture firm’s ranking, in order of priority:
- The number of A+Awards won (2013 to 2024)
- The number of A+Awards finalists (2013 to 2024)
- The number of projects selected as “Project of the Day” (2009 to 2024)
- The number of projects selected as “Featured Project” (2009 to 2024)
- The number of projects uploaded to Architizer (2009 to 2024)
Each of these metrics is explained in more detail at the foot of this article. This ranking list will be updated annually, taking into account new achievements of Costa Rica architecture firms throughout the year.
Without further ado, here are the 10 best architecture firms in Costa Rica:
Always believing that communication is the best tool to execute our projects, our mission is to transform your expectations, needs and budgets into tangible objects to habitability.
The vision of the studio focuses on constant updating, applying new technologies and knowledge, to offer innovative solutions of a conscious nature to the use, intervention and responsibility of the natural environment.
Some of StudioDelRio’s most prominent projects include:
- IN CALA HOUSE, Alajuela, Costa Rica
The following statistics helped StudioDelRio achieve 10th place in the 10 Best Architecture Firms in Costa Rica:
From the architect. During our walks through the site we found a few archeological pre- Columbian fragments made out of lava rock and clay. We realized that the local humble flora and fauna of the region inspired our ancestors. They were not about jaguars and eagles, for the contrary, they were inspired by the little cocoons, thorns and seeds. From there, we explored similar sources of inspiration to create the arts and crafts. With that in mind, we created the architectural concept for the project. Through the design process, our concern was the site conditions. The 28-acre oceanfront parcel, presented an irregular topography with a level difference of 60 meters between the highest and the lowest point.
Some of Zurcher Arquitectos’s most prominent projects include:
- Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
The following statistics helped Zurcher Arquitectos achieve 9th place in the 10 Best Architecture Firms in Costa Rica:
Founded by architects Esteban Castro and Carla Carranza (Costa Rica), Aarcano, is the name chosen for our architecture firm that refers especially to secret things, that are hidden or reserved. Meaning mystery, something difficult to discovered for been hidden. Our studio reflects that peculiar condition, where the process flows in diverse ways, not always controlled. Our form of working looks like a process or action of seeking a series of things without an ending, similar to a combination of different phases of a natural phenomenon or part of an artificial operation.
The sketches and models represent our permanent interest of searching, creating a system of work, our studio, where we hope that it continues as a secret (aarcano) model. The projects we have developed include planning and development of interior design, housing projects, residential projects, conceptual studies, offices projects and mixed use developments.
Some of Aarcano Arquitectura’s most prominent projects include:
The following statistics helped Aarcano Arquitectura achieve 8th place in the 10 Best Architecture Firms in Costa Rica:
Jaime Rouillon Arquitectura (JRA) was established in 1994, as an architecture firm specialized in “high-end custom design” with a precise distinction for detailing; each project as each client is different. Jaime Rouillon “gives a complete personalized” treatment in close contact from beginning to conclusion of the project, always assisting the client. Our seal is one where craftsmanship is determinant for that unique result. Materials are chosen carefully as a representation of the client’s need. Both interior and architecture design result in “one on one” as an integral result of both texture and space, an identity of its own. We strongly believe in the mutual trust and respect with the client, for it is then when a great project is realized.
Some of Jaime Rouillon Arquitectura’s most prominent projects include:
The following statistics helped Jaime Rouillon Arquitectura achieve 7th place in the 10 Best Architecture Firms in Costa Rica:
We are a Costa Rican Architectural firm named “Carazo Arquitectura”, our office is located in San Jose Costa Rica in the heart of the main city and capital. Rodrigo Carazo founded the firm in 2005.
Some of Carazo Arquitectura’s most prominent projects include:
- Adara, Curridabat, San José, Costa Rica
- Casa Murray Music, Heredia, Costa Rica
- Sportiva , Costa Rica
- Natú, Costa Rica
The following statistics helped Carazo Arquitectura achieve 6th place in the 10 Best Architecture Firms in Costa Rica:
CRN is an architecture firm based in Costa Rica. Since 2015 our company provides architecture, consulting and construction services for residential, commercial and hospitality projects in Santa Teresa, Nosara, Tamarindo and Guanacaste. As a team, our main goal is to guide and advise our clients during the experience of building and developing residential and commercial projects in Costa Rica.
Some of CRN ARCHITECTURE’s most prominent projects include:
- EL CORAZON, Puntarenas, Costa Rica
- PALO SANTO SANTA TERESA, Costa Rica
- CASA AMARILLO, Costa Rica
- CASA DE AMOR, Punta Arenas, Costa Rica
- Casa del Cabo, Puntarenas, Costa Rica
The following statistics helped CRN ARCHITECTURE achieve 5th place in the 10 Best Architecture Firms in Costa Rica:
A-01 is an interdisciplinary network organization. In a globally urbanizing society, we work at the borderline of city and countryside or help identifying new synergies between the urban and the rural domain. Our participatory design methodologies are designed to co-create integrally sustainable solutions in urban and rural development. We intend to break the boundaries of a single professional perspective in order to allow for a holistic approach that shapes our products.
With more than 15 years of professional experience, our portfolio includes services rendered in territorial and architectural planning, product and industrial design, renewable energy and mobility concepts, capacity building processes and education, as well as conferences and exhibition designs. Our client list is composed of bilateral and multilateral donors, public institutions, academic entities, non-governmental or grassroots organizations, private companies and individuals.
Some of A-01 (A Company / A Foundation)’s most prominent projects include:
- No Footprint House (NFH), Ojochal, Costa Rica
The following statistics helped A-01 (A Company / A Foundation) achieve 4th place in the 10 Best Architecture Firms in Costa Rica:
VOID began its activities in 2012 in Costa Rica. Currently it is constituted by architects Sergio Frugone, Felipe Rossi and Ricardo Sevilla. As an office we have a strong conviction that every project we develop, be it private or public development, should be thought to impact its imediate local context in a greater way. VOID does not pretend to be a traditional studio, rather, a creative studio where we believe in multidisciplinary processes and possess and promote a strong culture of collaboration.
Some of VOID’s most prominent projects include:
- EFC Cabin, San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica
- Guarumo, Santa Teresa Beach, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica
- Tropik Works, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica
- NMF Residence, Pinilla, Costa Rica
The following statistics helped VOID achieve 3rd place in the 10 Best Architecture Firms in Costa Rica:
For Salagnac Architects, Contemporary Tropical Architecture promotes the maximum integration of the building and the environment, in order to diminish the impact it causes on nature. In this type of architecture, human comfort can be accomplished by means of efficient energy consumption systems, bioclimatic design strategies and advanced technology. This innovative architecture integrates, in a creative way, the environment, technology and aesthetics.
Some of Salagnac Arquitectos’s most prominent projects include:
- Waldorf School Casa de las Estrellas, Nosara, Costa Rica
- Design Studio Salagnac Arquitectos, Nosara, Costa Rica
- Casa Guayacán, Nosara, Costa Rica
- Casa Ceiba, Nosara, Costa Rica
The following statistics helped Salagnac Arquitectos achieve 2nd place in the 10 Best Architecture Firms in Costa Rica:
1. Studio Saxe
We live in an era of great technological advancements that are continuously expanding towards innovation and complexity. The fields of architecture and design are being influenced greatly by the development of new materials, new means of construction, and never before ways of representation that in turn constantly change the way that we create objects, spaces and landscapes.
However, this advancement has also lead us to believe that ‘good’ architecture and design is that which most correctly harnesses all of these technologies and applies them as an excuse for achieving excellence. I believe that there exists in all of us a set of instincts, which are not necessarily governed by reason, that provide the backbone for the necessity of design in the 21st century.
Some of Studio Saxe’s most prominent projects include:
- Santiago Hills Villa, Santiago, Provincia de Puntarenas, Costa Rica
- Sirena House, Santa Teresa Beach, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica
- Containers of Hope
- A Forest For a Moon Dazzler
- Ocean Eye, Santa Teresa Beach, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica
- Top image: Sirena House, Santa Teresa Beach, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica
The following statistics helped Studio Saxe achieve 1st place in the 10 Best Architecture Firms in Costa Rica:
Why Should I Trust Architizer’s Ranking?
With more than 30,000 architecture firms and over 130,000 projects within its database, Architizer is proud to host the world’s largest online community of architects and building product manufacturers. Its celebrated A+Awards program is also the largest celebration of architecture and building products, with more than 400 jurors and hundreds of thousands of public votes helping to recognize the world’s best architecture each year.
Architizer also powers firm directories for a number of AIA (American Institute of Architects) Chapters nationwide, including the official directory of architecture firms for AIA New York.
A Guide to Project Awards
The blue “+” badge denotes that a project has won a prestigious A+Award as described above. Hovering over the badge reveals details of the award, including award category, year, and whether the project won the jury or popular choice award.
The orange Project of the Day and yellow Featured Project badges are awarded by Architizer’s Editorial team, and are selected based on a number of factors. The following factors increase a project’s likelihood of being featured or awarded Project of the Day status:
- Project completed within the last 3 years
- A well written, concise project description of at least 3 paragraphs
- Architectural design with a high level of both functional and aesthetic value
- High quality, in focus photographs
- At least 8 photographs of both the interior and exterior of the building
- Inclusion of architectural drawings and renderings
- Inclusion of construction photographs
There are 7 Projects of the Day each week and a further 31 Featured Projects. Each Project of the Day is published on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram Stories, while each Featured Project is published on Facebook. Each Project of the Day also features in Architizer’s Weekly Projects Newsletter and shared with 170,000 subscribers.
We’re constantly look for the world’s best architects to join our community. If you would like to understand more about this ranking list and learn how your firm can achieve a presence on it, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at email@example.com.