Designed by Ventura Trindade Architects, and completed in 2009, the Garducho Biological Center in Mourão, Portugal is a site sensitive construction built to aid in the preservation of the region's natural beauty. Because of its incredibly isolated location, the center operates completely off grid and generates its own power via a photovoltaic system set on the roof. Water saving measures were also important in the design, and the structure both collects and stores captured rainwater.
The aim of the Garducho Biological Center (Estação Biológica do Garducho) is to foster sensitivity to the importance of biodiversity, and to increase scientific knowledge on the species and habitats in the region. The center not only seeks to disseminate scientific knowledge of biodiversity, but to spread the adoption of environmentally sustainable materials and technologies. The research center provides opportunities for young researchers and for international collaborations.
The design of the center places a strong focus on minimizing impact on the surrounding environment. Elevated above the land except in key parts, the building ensures the ground is intact and allows it to stay permeable. Paths on the ground connect the various functional parts together and above ground bridge-like volumes provide more research space.
As the building is located away from conventional utilities and services, the center is completely off-grid and self-sufficient. Photovoltaics on the roof generate electricity for the building, and rainwater cisterns collect water for use inside the facility.
Images ©Ventura Trindade Architects