Pedra Silva Architects completed the newest offices for the German institute Fraunhofer. Their team 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)”. Here is the project description we were sent by the developers: “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. 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. The 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. 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”. [Photography: João Morgado]