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.
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.
“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.
Images by João Morgado