Monitoring and Investigation Center of Furnas by Aires Mateus

Monitoring and Investigation Center of Furnas by Aires Mateus

Photographer Fernando Guerra has sent us these photographs of two stone-clad buildings by Lisbon firm Aires Mateus Architects that form a research centre with accommodation on the island of São Miguel, Portugal.

Monitoring and Investigation Center of Furnas by Aires Mateus

The Furnas Monitoring and Investigation Centre is the larger of the two buildings and has three wings that enclose a central courtyard, overlooked by all rooms.

Monitoring and Investigation Center of Furnas by Aires Mateus

The accommodation building is simpler in form with a square plan and a pitched roof. Each facade is punctured by a ceiling-height glazed doorway.

Monitoring and Investigation Center of Furnas by Aires Mateus

The accommodation has a symmetrical plan divided into four spaces each with a different ceiling height.

Monitoring and Investigation Center of Furnas by Aires Mateus

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Monitoring and Investigation Center of Furnas by Aires Mateus

Here's some more from the architects:


The project intends to evoke the architectural landscape of the Azores, drawing upon the form and material that embed the collective memory of this island and archipelago, that have become, with time, a second nature of this place.

Monitoring and Investigation Center of Furnas by Aires Mateus

Therefore the buildings are archetypal volumes, simple and compact, clad with the local basaltic stone.

Monitoring and Investigation Center of Furnas by Aires Mateus

The Furnas Monitoring and Investigation Centre

This building asserts itself as the largest of the group to build around the lagoon. Being the most exceptional building, the Furnas Monitoring and Investigation Centre draws on an intermediate space between exterior and interior – the courtyard.

Monitoring and Investigation Center of Furnas by Aires Mateus

This element results from a subtraction to the volume, cutting it from within the central zone (the vertex of the four roof fields) to the exterior limit of a facade thus enabling access to the interior.

Monitoring and Investigation Center of Furnas by Aires Mateus

This internal courtyard also becomes the point where the main internal compartments are revealed.

Monitoring and Investigation Center of Furnas by Aires Mateus

These spaces, truncated by the subtraction that defines the courtyard maintain all relations between interior/exterior.

Monitoring and Investigation Center of Furnas by Aires Mateus

The building was therefore conceived as a sculpture, as a block of raw matter that is intentionally cut into to capture light and the lagoon itself.

Monitoring and Investigation Center of Furnas by Aires Mateus

Accomodation for researchers

The building for temporary accomodation is a compact volume of four fields compartmentalised into four units.

Monitoring and Investigation Center of Furnas by Aires Mateus

The building is cut in each of the four facades by a wooden threshold that enables the penetration of light and access to each of the accomodation units.

Monitoring and Investigation Center of Furnas by Aires Mateus

There is an established hierarchy of heights between the four spaces related to the solar orientation of each unit.

Monitoring and Investigation Center of Furnas by Aires Mateus

The exterior wall of the building is structural where the necessary infrastructures and services run as oppose to the light interior timber walls.

Monitoring and Investigation Center of Furnas by Aires Mateus

See also:

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