Ministerio de Trabajo - Bancoop
Envisioned originally for the cooperative bank, Bancoop, and now serving as the home of the Ministerio de Trabajo de Costa Rica, this 8-story office building is a prime example of ICESA’s mastery in flexible space design and modern aesthetics.
The building, designed to be adaptable, now seamlessly accommodates the diverse functions of the Ministry of Labor. Its design is grounded in flexibility, with an expressive red steel structure that has become a signature aspect of the building’s character.
Each floor is uniquely shifted towards the south relative to the one below, a strategic design feature that ensures the facade is shaded from the harsh southern sun. This shifting also creates an interesting spatial dynamic on the northern side, where an expansive glass atrium fills the building with soft, natural light.
The Ministerio de Trabajo Building is a testament to the concept of “institutional monumentality.” The dynamic shifts of the floors create voids within the two dark grey volumes that constitute the building, lending it a distinctive monumental character.
Adding color to the impressive architectural canvas is a blue steel outdoor stair that runs diagonally across the facade. Its yellow handrail pops against the neutral tones of the building, drawing attention to the thoughtfully designed circulation space.
At the building’s base, a large steel and glass canopy offers a welcoming entrance. It serves as a gathering point for visitors and vendors, fostering interaction and engagement. The building is not just an office space; it is a community hub, a destination, a symbol of modern architecture’s potential to enhance human experiences.