JERDE Designs 1.5 Million SF Shopping Destination in Costa Rica, Setting a New World Class Standard for Reimagining Retail & Entertainment

May 07, 2019

Oxígeno includes massive rooftop park while the interior redefines the look and feel of retail for the 21st century by combining entertainment, education, gastronomy, and shopping within naturally inspired architecture

JERDE, an iconic and internationally renowned architecture and urban planning firm headquartered in Downtown Los Angeles, celebrated the grand opening of Oxígeno, a 145,000 square meter (1.56 million square feet) shopping and entertainment destination with a distinctive rooftop park—one of the world’s largest—in San Francisco de Heredia, Costa Rica. The project was designed by JERDE and developed by Cuestamoras Urbanismo. Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado officiated the project’s grand opening, which has welcomed nearly 2 million visitors over the last four months. 

“JERDE created a truly special design that redefines the look and feel of retail for the 21st century. Their vision has become a vibrant reality and has given Costa Rica an all-encompassing experience for people that goes far beyond a traditional shopping center,” says Hernan Martinez, CEO of the Cuestamoras-Urbana Partners Alliance.  “As you can see, Oxígeno’s bold architecture is like nothing else in the world—the architecture in and of itself is an attraction.”

Composed of multiple buildings, Oxígeno was designed as a place for the entire community, where visitors can experience a wide variety of programming, including entertainment, education, gastronomy, and shopping, all of which materializes in unique physical and virtual spaces.  Oxígeno gracefully integrates itself into the community with one-of-a-kind, naturally inspired architecture that offers recreational areas and is complemented by a dynamic operation designed to permanently surprise visitors and guests.

“The unique form of Oxígeno was inspired by the many inactive volcanoes surrounding the site.  We looked at the local geography—the hovering clouds that sit on top of the mountains, the greenery, and the gently sloping hills—to create a project that reflects the natural beauty of the mountains in the form of a modern building with a cloud on top,” said Eduardo Lopez, JERDE Senior Vice President of Design and project lead for Oxígeno.

The project’s most unique feature is its expansive green spaces, including a 15,000 square meter (161,000 square feet) rooftop park and 1.2 kilometer (3/4 mile) jogging track with mountain views.  The park sits above a public plaza that can serve as a 3,000 person event venue. 

 “The idea behind Oxígeno was to create an exciting new public venue. We thought, why not take the park and put it over the project? That way, the project is nestled underneath it with multiple environments for people to experience.  The park is a functional part of Oxígeno. It encourages people to come, shop or just hang out and take a break.  A unique feature like this helps to create memories and hopefully a desire for people to come back again and again,” said Lopez.

Recently, nearly 5 million square feet of large retail centers designed by JERDE have opened around the globe.  This includes Kashirskaya Plaza, a 2 million square foot retail center in Moscow, Russia and the Powerlong One Mall, a 1.3 million square foot complex, which is the second phase of the Powerlong Xiamen International Center, a three-phased 4.3 million square foot mixed-use destination masterplanned by JERDE in Xiamen, China.  

7 Oxigeno