Pedra Silva Architects designed the offices for Fraunhofer Portugal, a non-profit private research association part of the German Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the largest organization for applied research in Europe. Although not familiar to the general public, Fraunhofer is responsible for many important innovations, including, for example, the MP3 file format, and many advances in workplace organization research.
Our 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)”. 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.
– Pedra Silva Architects
The new office space spans across two floors, occupying a total of 1,660 m². The design of the project was developed around a central axis that gave way to the main circulation path within the office. The work spaces were distributed along this main pathway next to a glass facade.
Spaces of different sizes and functions are all tied together by a bold waving plane that goes through the open floors. The waving surface acts, depending on the context, as ceiling, wall or floor of offices and meeting rooms, guaranteeing visual continuity, movement and flow.
Beyond the regular office spaces, Pedra Silva incorporated several small social and meeting areas, named silent rooms, which allow for personal retreat, as well as informal meetings. These spaces are intended to generate a highly creative environment promoting comfort and well-being among the researchers.
The overall design boosts creativity and innovation. Most of the interior was kept neutral to allow for bold graphics and pops of colours. Fun and quirky graphics are used on glass panels, suggesting a fun and creative environment to work in.
Architects: Pedra Silva Architects
Project Coordination: Luis Pedra Silva with ENGEXPOR
Team: Hugo Ramos, Rita Pais, Jette Fyhn, Dina Castro, André Góis Fernandes, Ricardo Sousa, Bruno Almeida
Graphic Design: Rita e Joana Coimbra
MEP design: JCT with GATENGEL
Lighting: Astratec with Prolicht Lighting
Workplace Furniture: BENE
Social furniture: Empatias
Location: Oporto, Portugal
Project area: 1660m2
Project year: 2011
Contractor: BEC – Braga Equipamento e Construção
Photography: João Morgado
*All images and information courtesy of Pedra Silva Architects.