Champalimaud Foundation is dedicated to the development of advanced biomedical research programs, but architecture is part of its life. In October of 2008, was laid the first stone for the building of the Foundation.
Charles Correa, the Portuguese architect responsible for giving life to this science centre, sought that the contemporary architecture of the building allied the aesthetic to the functionality guaranteeing all conditions for researchers, academics and health professionals, both national and foreign, to develop a work-oriented for excellence and practical results.
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Correa says: “What makes me most proud about this project is that it is NOT a Museum of Modern Art. On the contrary, it uses the highest levels of contemporary science and medicine to help people grappling with real problems; cancer, brain damage and going blind. And to house these cutting-edge activities, we tried to create a piece of architecture. Architecture as Sculpture. Architecture as Beauty. Beauty as therapy.”
The site where the river meets the Atlantic Ocean is steeped in history. It’s the site where Henry the Navigator, Vasco de Gama and other great Portuguese left on their journeys into the unknown—a perfect metaphor for the discoveries of contemporary science today, Correa points out.
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The 3 units that constitute the project (the largest for the doctors and scientist, the second for the theatre, the exhibition hall, the Foundation offices, etc, and the third is an open-air amphitheatre for the city) have been arranged to create a 125m long pathway leading diagonally across the site, towards the open seas.
This pathway is ramped up – so as you ascend, you only see sky ahead of you. At the end of the ramp are two stone monoliths, straight from the quarry. When you reach the highest point, you begin to see a large body of water, which seemingly connects to the ocean beyond. In the centre of this water body, just below the surface of the water, is an oval-shaped object—made of stainless steel and slightly convex, so that it reflects the blue sky and passing clouds above.
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