The central building of the Technological Park in Óbidos, a small historic town near Lisbon, is a monolitic square structure that frames a piece of the landscape and houses different start-up creative business companies. The author, Carcavelos-based architect Jorge Mealha, won an international competition launched by the Óbidos Municipality back in 2010 to build the structure.
The project aims to increase the presence of green surfaces. This attitude informed the overall shape of the buildings, which creates a large piazza in the middle of a countryside. The central space references famous spaces of similar configurations, such as Piazza San Marco in Venice, Piazza Navona in Rome and Terreiros, and settlements or small villages characteristic of Portugal’s countryside.
The ground floor of the building accommodates support spaces as well as the main meeting and multipurpose room, the Fablab, the small restaurant, some shops and main technical areas. The floating cloister absorbs almost all the office units for the start-up companies and a few labs. Both floors present large areas organised trough a modular structure providing a high degree of flexibility.
Concrete, steel and glass dominate the appearance of the building. Its ground floor features mainly concrete, while the exterior combines concrete with steel and glass. A set of huge metal trusses, assembled to create four voided and interconnected prisms, creates a large and floating square cloister.
Photos by Joao Morgado