Regional Blood Center of Coimbra


A Regional Blood Centre is essentially a highly complex laboratory building, where the donated blood is separated into its three major components and transformed for medicinal purposes.

This being the second Centre we design (the first one was in Porto), it reflects a bigger tranquillity and come to terms with the treatment to be given to the complex technical paraphernalia proper of these buildings. This understanding has brought us, this second chance around, a deeper feeling of freedom.

The land for its implantation is of a beauty that reminds us of landscapes more como in the north of Europe: a thick forest of 147 feet-tall pine trees, only 6 or 9 feet apart from each other. Inside the dense woods a world of shade rules over the sky, which is seen only briefly, piercing the green “canvas” made by the tree-tops.

Although there are some urbanized areas relatively near by, there is a strong feeling of isolation, like we had crossed somewhere a sort of filter. This land is located on the wavy line atop of a hill, suddenly falling down a very inclined slope.

In this place, any building seems to be excessive. It is a disruption in the balance of this landscape.

The concept of the building clearly reflects a will to stand up to that “displaced”, odd and unexpected character. It is a big grey volume, completely wrapped in zinc, whose only connection to the place seems to be a reaction to the wavy properties of the ground, tracing along with its form the undulation of the topography.

The entrances, as well as all the openings, windows and skylights, are like ridges or furrows that highlight the resulting tension of the folded volume: on the convex side they project out; on the concavous side they are the same plan of the building’s body. In both cases, they reveal the inside, warm and bright.

When designing the interiors, we stated our fascination for the necessity of linear and antiseptic spaces, but now dealing with a radical aesthetic interpretation, of merely functional obsessions, that we found in other laboratories we visited for this project


Instituto Português do Sangue

Covões, Coimbra

2001 - 1º Award
2002 - 2003
2005 - 2007

4.100 m2


ARX Portugal, Arquitectos lda.

José Mateus

Nuno Mateus


Paulo Rocha, Stefano Riva,Marco Roque Antunes, Nuno Grancho, Tiago Santos, Andreia Tomé, Tânia Pedro, Clara Martins, Pedro Sousa, Alain Gameiro

Construction Technical Support

Gonçalo Azevedo

Lanscape Architecture

PROAP, Estudos e Projectos de Arquitectura Paisagista Lda.


TAL PROJECTO, Projectos, Estudos e Serviços de Engenharia Lda.

Electrical and Technical Instalation

AT, Serviços de Engenharia Electrontécnica e Electrónica Lda.

Sanitary Planning

AQUADOMUS, Consultores Lda.

Mechanical Planning

PEN, Projectos de Engenharia Lda.

Security Planning

AT, Serviços de Engenharia Electrotécnica e Electrónica Lda.