Atelier Central Arquitectos has upgraded the campus of a Lisbon high college, adding a pale concrete entrance block and a network of corridors enclosed behind slender golden fins (+ film).


Lisbon-based Atelier Central Arquitectos was asked to renovate the current campus of the 1,260-capability Vergílio Ferreira Higher College, which is set in the Carnide district of the Portuguese capital.

The studio positioned a concrete reception and administration block at one end of the campus to develop a a lot more dominant entrance. They then added a series of glazed walkways, to give greater connection in between existing blocks spread across the site.


The imposing concrete walls of the entrance block protects the network of classrooms to the rear. Its street-facing facade is punctured only by a elongated strip of glazing at the base, which signifies the main entrance and exit point to the school.


Within, a polished concrete lobby prospects through to a modest grassy courtyard at the rear and on to the classrooms past.


“A hefty volume, scaled in reference to the website and city, helps enclose the school, thus protecting college students from the surrounding and adjacent residential buildings,” explained architects José Martinez Silva and Miguel Beleza.

Connected story: Brick blocks hold separate classrooms at Fonte de Angeão College by Miguel Marcelino

“Lengthy windows announce and reveal the richness of the interior landscape cutting the basis base.”


The glazed corridors, which are covered in rows of golden aluminium louvres, spread across the faces of the disparate campus buildings. This detailing is replicated in shorter passageways elsewhere – generating a widespread thread during the internet site.


“The network of pathways emerges as a light-weight object, apparently fragile, contrasting not only with the hefty and robust entrance volume, finished in organic white concrete, but also with the other dispersed current buildings that had been remodelled,” the architects said.


The glossy concrete floors and the brilliant white walls of the corridors support to reflect natural light from the glazed walls and a skylight. Strips of light and shadow are projected onto these surfaces by the slatted cladding.


“The interior is noiseless,” said the architects. “White walls and a really high ceiling emphasise the couple of openings on the sides, where a skylight illuminates the principal stair connecting the distinct levels. A closed area is formed with the sound only of silence.”


Silhouettes of college students and personnel traversing the multi-tiered walkways can be observed from the courtyard and adjoining buildings.

“The rectangular shape and the decreased distance amongst profiles [generates] distinctive exciting shadows all through the day,” explained Silva and Beleza.


“Individuals strolling are witnessed as moving dark pixels in a golden setting,” they extra. “Shadow stripes are projected all more than the patios and other constructions.”


The venture also involved some reconfiguration of the existing buildings. Inner partitions have been removed to simplify the layout, whilst the exterior was stripped of lintels and recesses to streamline the blocks, in line with the smooth concrete walls of the extension.


Concrete has verified common with architects functioning on Portuguese schools. Other latest examples incorporate a stark concrete extension to a secondary school in Lisbon’s Pontinha spot and a series of angular concrete structures extra to a secondary college in Odivelas.

Photography is by Fernando Guerra.

Venture credits:

Architecture/coordination: Atelier Central Arquitectos – José Martinez Silva, Miguel Beleza
Collaborators: Fernando Carlota, João Graça, Pedro Rodrigues, Cristina Vieira, David Cachucho, Andreia Sá, Cláudia Barata, Filipe Oliveira
Consumer: Parque Escolar
Civil and structural engineer: Pressuposto – Projectos e Consultoria de Engenharia
Technical consultants: LMSA – Engenharia de Edifícios, LMSA – Marobal, Laqre
Landscape architect: International – Arquitectura Paisagista
Contractor: Construtora Abrantina, Lena Engenharia e Construções, MRG
Supervision: Tecnoplano – Tecnologia e Planeamento

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