Fraunhofer Offices

Oporto, Portugal


Fraunhofer Portugal



Project date


Construction date


Construction area

1.660 m2


Winner of the 2016 Green GOOD DESIGN Award
Winner of the Archdaily Building of the Year 2011 Awards (Interiors category)
1st Place in closed competition

Graphic Design

Rita & Joana Coimbra

Located in Oporto, the Fraunhofer offices occupy part of a building in the Science and Technology Park at the Oporto University (UPTEC). The space allotted to these offices consists of 1.660m2, divided along two floors. 

The Fraunhofer Portugal association is part of the German company Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Europe’s largest applied research institution. Although it is relatively little known to the public, Fraunhofer is responsible for such innovations as the MP3 audio format, and for significant advances in the field of workspace organization. 

The project is based on the company’s philosophy of innovation, as well as its ample investigation into the matter of workspaces, through a simple, affirmative and dynamic message, and was selected through a private competition held by the institution itself.
The main circulation is a structural element of the project, and is laid out along the large glazed façade.

It is from this longitudinal circulation that the various office spaces are accessed. These spaces, which differ in size and function, are defined by a single strong gesture that determines the functioning and image of the whole – a plane that rises, falls and undulates through the space, generating the different rooms and paths. 

This freestanding plane reinforces the different volumes and materializes itself as a ceiling, wall or pavement for the different offices and meeting rooms, granting them a certain spatial dynamic, visual continuity, movement and flow. 

Throughout the office, small independent rooms called silent rooms are introduced, serving as places of concentration, informal meeting rooms or simply for resting. These seek to promote the researchers’ creativity and well-being. 

The colours used throughout the different spaces, together with the graphic design, give the offices a relaxed and youthful environment, according to the company’s ideology.