The porous, pale green facade that wraps the Institute of Science and Innovation for Bio-Sustainability at Portugal’s Azurém Campus was created for more than just looks. The holes in the eye-catching cladding reference the shape of titanium nanotubes, which are being studied as a cheaper, energy-efficient alternative to silicon solar cells. Architect Cláudio Vilarinho designed the unique building as an inspiring symbol of the research center’s impact on the future of bio-sustainable technologies.



Institute of Science and Innovation for Bio-Sustainability, Institute of Science and Innovation for Bio-Sustainability in Portugal, Institute of Science and Innovation for Bio-Sustainability by Cláudio Vilarinho, titanium nanotube inspired architecture, prefab concrete facade, prefabricated facade for building,

Vilarinho cited the search for future technology themes as the inspiration behind the building’s unusual facade. The porous green skin was made from prefabricated cement-based panels reinforced with micro-fibers. The composite material is low-maintenance, resistant to corrosion, and is very ductile, making it easy for the builders to manipulate and add round openings to the panels.

Institute of Science and Innovation for Bio-Sustainability, Institute of Science and Innovation for Bio-Sustainability in Portugal, Institute of Science and Innovation for Bio-Sustainability by Cláudio Vilarinho, titanium nanotube inspired architecture, prefab concrete facade, prefabricated facade for building,

Related: Architects burrow two large eye sockets into the green aluminum-clad Euronews headquarters

“We propose a building with a unique image for the campus,” wrote the architect. “A building that breaks the existing gray monotony – referring not only about the pictorial issue of the Campus, but also about the ‘global crisis without end’ – and that, at the same time, is able to captivate.” In contrast to the pale green façade, the interiors feature white cement surfaces and a clean industrial feel. Although landscape views are obscured by the double-skin façade, natural light still penetrates the building through the gap between the prefabricated panels and the building. The project was completed in 2015.

+ Cláudio Vilarinho

Images by João Morgado