Text description provided by the architects. Charles Correa Associates designed this research and diagnostic center located in Lisbon. It is a state-of-the-art facility guided by some of the best scientist in the world. Correa says, “What makes me most proud about this project is that it is NOT a Museum of Modern Art. On the contrary, it uses the highest levels of contemporary science and medicine to help people grappling with real problems; cancer, brain damage and going blind. And to house these cutting-edge activities, we tried to create a piece of architecture. Architecture as Sculpture. Architecture as Beauty. Beauty as therapy.”
The site, where the river meets the Atlantic Ocean, is steeped in history. It is the site where Henry the Navigator, Vasco de Gama and other great Portuguese left on their journeys into the unknown—a perfect metaphor for the discoveries of contemporary science today, Correa points out.
The 3 units that constitute the project (the largest for the doctors and scientist, the second for the theatre, the exhibition hall, the Foundation offices, etc, and the third is an open-air amphitheater for the city) have been arranged to create a 125m long pathway leading diagonally across the site, towards the open seas.
This pathway is ramped up (at a gentle slope of 1:20) – so as you ascend, you see only sky ahead of you. At the end of the ramp are two stone monoliths, straight from the quarry. When you reach the highest point, you begin to see a large body of water, which seemingly connects (i.e., without any visual break) to the ocean beyond. In the center of this water body, just below the surface of the water, is an oval shaped object—made of stainless steel and slightly convex, so that it reflects the blue sky and passing clouds above.