mahabis architecture // the champalimaud centre, by charles correa
Charles Correa was more than just an architect, he was a thinker of urban space who considered both the surrounding environment and the usage of the building when planning his designs. His design for the Champalimaud Centre of the Unknown provides a soothing, relaxing and futuristic outdoor space in which to stroll and unwind; the perfect retreat for both the scientists who work inside and visitors to the building.
"This project uses the highest levels of contemporary science and medicine to help people grappling with real problems. And to house these cutting-edge activities, we tried to create a piece of architecture. Architecture as Sculpture. Architecture as Beauty. Beauty as therapy.” - Charles Correa
The innovative and ultra-modern exterior of the building perfectly showcases the usage of the structure as a biomedical research foundation. Cylindrical tunnels, curved walls, unusual oval openings and the evidence of a displaced rainforest placed within the walls all hint towards the structure being used as a contemporary arts space, but once you learn that this is a medical facility, the design instantly makes sense.
The building comprises of two buildings, one containing research labs and treatment facilities, and the other an auditorium and exhibition centre. The space between the buildings leads past two stone sculptures down to an outdoor amphitheatre that looks over the water. Correa designed the building to allow elements of nature to interact with it, hoping to provide natural therapies for the patients by exposing them to the sky above, the water surrounding the structure, and the garden planted within its walls.
The site has been designed so that locals and visitors can wander around its grounds without compromising the privacy of the scientists and patients inside. The steps of the amphitheatre provide the perfect place to sit and relax with a book or to watch the boats in the water, whilst remaining blissfully aware of the medical function of the building. Visitors flock here to witness a feat of architecture that is calming and peaceful, strolling between the two buildings in silent awe.
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