Architects: VOID

Design Team: Sergio Frugone, Felipe Rossi, Ricardo Sevilla

Location: Santa Ana, Costa Rica

Area: 36m2

Year: 2014


Wökapi, which translated means coffee bean in Bribri, is a small organic/artisan coffee shop surrounded by a quaint greenhouse in Santa Ana. It’s project whose primary adjective is "artisan". Since its conceptualization as an artisan coffee shop, the Wökapi clients sought a concept that would reflect itself with simple architecture, low cost, sustainable and that would project artisan in every sense of the word. At the same time, it sought to generate a warm environment, surrounded by greenery and local art, ideal for a quick getaway to enjoy coffee with friends. 

Achieving a project that would meet these requirements was a great challenge for VOID, but at the same time it was an opportunity to make Wökapi stand out in a saturated service market. Out of this challenge came the idea to continue with the coffee concept and seek “artisan architecture”. In this way, the materials would become a key design principle for the project, elaborated mostly with recycled items, found in local markets, easy to build and with local labor supply. Using reclaimed wood from different construction sites in the area as the primary construction element, we would be able to lower construction costs and reduce the impact of carbon emissions.

Since the conceptualization of the project, the clients took an active roll in the design process, and in various stages of the construction the architects along with the clients formed part of the construction team. In this way, we were able to involve the client even more in the constructive process; so that they would have a sense of empowerment with the project knowing that what was being built is what they once dreamt of and not something imposed by an architect.

On the other hand with the help of different passive systems we were able to ventilate and illuminate the spaces naturally, which meant substantial energy savings in the client’s day-to-day costs. We designed a green wall system in the façade with the most sunlight and in this way passively controlled the thermal transition into the internal space. Because of all the above WÖKAPI represents a project unique in its style and innovation.