Fraunhofer Portugal \ Pedra Silva Architects

• September 28, 2011

Pedra Silva Architects have just completed the new office for the german institute Fraunhofer in Oporto, Portugal.

Fraunhofer Portugal is a non-profit private research association and is part of the German Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the largest organization for applied research in Europe. Although not familiar to the general public, Fraunhofer is responsible for many important innovations, including, for example, the MP3 file format, and many advances in workplace organization research.

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Fraunhofer Portugal, image courtesy Pedra Silva Architects | Photo by João Morgado

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Fraunhofer Portugal, image courtesy Pedra Silva Architects | Photo by João Morgado

Pedra Silva Architects was selected, through an open competition, to design the new Porto headquarters, located at the Technology University Campus: “Parque de Ciência e Tecnologia da Universidade do Porto (UPTEC)”. Our design took into account Fraunhofer’s innovative philosophy trough a message that is simple, positive and dynamic. Innovative workplace layout and organizational elements from Frauhnofer Office Innovation Center in Stuttgart (Germany) were also an important input to the project, adding another layer to our concept.

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Fraunhofer Portugal, image courtesy Pedra Silva Architects | Photo by João Morgado

The new research facilities occupy two floors in a new UPTEC building in a total of 1.660sqm. Circulation is the project’s backbone; all spaces appear along a distribution route located next to the glass façade. This main axis allows access to all different spaces. These spaces, with different functions and sizes, are generated and consolidated through a bold gesture: a waving plane that goes through the open floors, creating different spaces and ambiances.

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Fraunhofer Portugal, image courtesy Pedra Silva Architects | Photo by João Morgado

This spatial and visual dynamics are generated by a free plane that travels through the space and by colour, that reinforces the perception of different volumes. The waving surface acts, depending on the context, as ceiling, wall or floor of offices and meeting rooms, guaranteeing visual continuity, movement and flow.

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Fraunhofer Portugal, image courtesy Pedra Silva Architects | Photo by João Morgado

Another important asset to the project is the introduction of several small social and meeting spaces, named silent rooms, which allow for personal retreat, as well as informal meetings or resting. These spaces are intended to generate a highly creative environment promoting comfort and well being among the researchers.

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Fraunhofer Portugal, image courtesy Pedra Silva Architects | Photo by João Morgado

+ Project credits / data

Architects: Pedra Silva Architects | www.pedrasilva.com
Project Coordination: Luis Pedra Silva with ENGEXPOR | www.engexpor.pt
Team: Hugo Ramos, Rita Pais, Jette Fyhn, Dina Castro, André Góis Fernandes, Ana Lúcia da Cruz, Ricardo Sousa, Bruno Almeida
MEP design: JCT www.jct.pt with GATENGEL | www.gatengel.pt
Lighting: Astratec with Prolicht Lighting www.astratec.pt and www.prolicht.at
Workplace Furniture: BENE | www.bene.com
Social furniture: Empatias | www.empatias.pt
Location: Oporto, Portugal
Project area: 1660m2
Project year: 2011
Contractor: BEC – Braga Equipamento e Construção www.bec.com.pt
Type: Interior | Workplace
Photographs: João Morgado | www.photo.joaomorgado.com

+ All images and drawings courtesy Pedra Silva Architects | Photo by João Morgado

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Category: Interior

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