The new building provides facilities for research and innovation-led courses focusing on the sustainability of built and natural environments.
Vilarinho decided to develop a building that intentionally stands out from the existing campus architecture through its distinctive colour and facade treatment.
Each surface of the building's pale-green facade incorporates openings that reference the shape of titanium nanotubes, which are being investigated as a more efficient alternative to traditional silicone solar cells.
"We propose a building with a unique image for the campus," said Vilarinho. "A building that breaks the existing grey monotony – referring not only about the pictorial issue of the campus, but also about the 'global crisis without end' – and that, at the same time, is able to captivate."
"Associated with recent discoveries, the titanium nanotubes have capacities for reuse and cheap production," he added, "becoming an inspiration for an architecture that seeks sustainability as an ideal."
The facades comprise prefabricated panels, cast from a cement-based composite material that incorporates microfibres to give it added strength.
In addition to its robustness, the material is resistant to corrosion and has a plastic quality that makes it suitable for moulding.
The process used to produce the material also enables the inclusion of pigments that give it a distinctive pastel-green hue.
The panels cover the institute's straightforward geometric form, which comprises a cuboid with a section at the front of the ground floor removed. This cutaway creates a cantilevered upper storey that shelters the main entrance.
The holes in the panels frame views of the trees in front of the building and allow daylight to enter the laboratories, offices and meeting room.
Also located behind the perforated facade are balconies and a roof terrace that provide the occupants with some outdoor space.
At night, the presence of people inside is indicated by the green glow that emanates from the external surfaces.
Circulation areas feature walls and floors made from raw concrete. Exposed ducting in the hallways and labs, and metal balustrades in the staircases add to the industrial aesthetic.
Photography is by Joao Morgado.