CBA Setúbal


College of Business Administration, Setúbal

The building is located at the Setúbal Polytechnic School’s Campus, outside the city. In the absence of a general order for the spatial planning, the already built structures on Campus seem to have grown autonomously, with no apparent relation to each other, facing whether to themselves or to the landscape. The only obligations imposed to us were the number of floors (2-3), the relative location of the new building and the maintenance of the many (and beautiful) cork trees.

In the program, the School was thought out for 2000 students and must have Classrooms, Laboratories, Library, Auditoriums, teacher’s dens, Administration bureau and Management bodies, covering a rough area of 129.000 ft².

We could not find an empty land parcel with the necessary dimension for the construction of such a big volume, so we chose to build on two lots, separated by the Campus’s road.

Given the autonomy verified in the pre-existent buildings, we wanted this new school to communicate clearly to its neighbour structures, thus giving the first boost to a broad collective vision, and the smallness of the available land lots forced us to a closeness with the existing constructions.

On the southeast/southwest lot, the geometry starts out from a Cartesian tracery based on the contiguous building (School of Technology). On the northeast lot across the road, the geometry is organized from a pre-existent small isolated building (CITAI). From these two tracings (naturally discrepant) we designed a single pattern translating an idea of movement, implying a progressive and sequential flow, starting at southwest and ending at the other side of the road.

Guided by this referential, we designed a building that reflects the will of a connection to the urbanized surroundings, the contingency of building one structure separated by a road, and the idea of mobility resulting from the simultaneous observation of both. In this process of sequential positioning, we managed to preserve the cork trees allowing the careful implantation of a big volume on an irregular topography.

The variation in geometries and spaces within the building, just as the chosen colour code, fully depict this dynamic and fragmented reality.


Instituto Politécnico de Setúbal

Campus das Manteigadas, Setúbal, Portugal


12.000 m2


ARX Portugal, Arquitectos lda.

José Mateus

Nuno Mateus


Paulo Rocha, Stefano Riva, Jorge Sequeira,
Carlos Ribeiro, Diogo D’Orey, Paulo Lopes, Inês Camacho

Landscape Architecture

Luís Cabral


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

Electrical and Telecomunications Planning

Domótica, Estudo e Projecto de Edifícios Inteligentes, Lda.

Sanitary Planning

AQUADOMUS, Consultores Lda.

Acoustic Systems

Pedro Martins da Silva & Associados


José Manuel