Vodafone Headquarters in Porto features a monolithic building with shell construction of white concrete

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Vodafone Headquarters

Vodafone held a competition in July 2006, inviting fifty Portuguese architectural teams, with Barbosa & Guimares’ concept winning. The architecture of the Vodafone Headquarters, which cost 13.4 million euros and was inspired by the company slogan “Life in Motion,” is composed of faceted concrete punctured by a series of triangular-shaped windows. This skeletal building, designed by Barbosa Guimares Arquitectos, that appears to tumble over itself is a sculptural monument with a strong creative vision and a whimsical sense of wonder for an innovative company like Vodafone.

The Vodafone Headquarters is located at the intersection of the avenue Avenida da Boavista and the street Rua Correia de Sá, on a plot of 1970 sq.m, facing the previously mentioned streets to the north and a garden to the south, upper border, where a few tree species have been preserved. The functional program of the building consists of parking, offices, a megastore, an auditorium, a canteen, training rooms, warehouses, and technical areas. The sections are separated by mild dividers that allow for optimal connectivity between the interiors.

Vodafone Headquarters

The structure is organized vertically on eight stories, five above the ground and three in the basement. The lobby, a two-story megastore, an auditorium, and a café occupy the ground floor, with three entrance points from Boavista Avenue. The upper four levels are open spaces and house the Sales offices, Customer Care, Operations, Finance, and Technology, while an auditorium occupies the ground floor with a cafeteria and a shop with a technical assistance laboratory. The open-plan offices, two restrooms, and a pantry are all located on the next four floors, and three underground levels have parking, training centers, warehouses, and store rooms. A huge terrace with soft contours is located on the roof of the building.

The building’s separation from the existing structures on the west side allows it to become independent, creating an elegant view of the gardens set within the block. This monolithic irregular volume, which appears to give a feeling of mobility, is bordered by walls and roofs that are irregular and has fractured geometry, in line with the alignments established by the dominating buildings on the East and West sides of the building. Natural light enters the offices through continuous windows that run the length of the north and south elevations. There are two free-access outdoor areas on the third floor and roof. Vertical access points, such as elevators and staircases, are positioned on the building’s edges.

The Vodafone Headquarters core focuses and distributes a major flow of movement throughout the structure, connecting directly to every atrium level, main entrance, training rooms, and parking garage.

The structure of the building is built entirely of concrete, with monolithic slabs supported by walls, cores, and a few columns. The shell construction of white concrete self-compacted on both the north and south elevations, which expands in several panels around the perimeter of the building, was built fully in situ with marine plywood formwork. Internally, the outer walls were plasterboarded to produce air boxes thermal insulated with the required proportions to allow the movement of the equipment. The roof cover was finished with white prefabricated slabs, thermal insulation, and waterproofing. The structure’s interior was mostly made of concrete, marble, and plasterboard. The outer window frames are made of aluminum and steel, while the interior frames are made of stainless steel and wood.

Project Info

Architects: Barbosa & Guimarães
Year: 2008
Manufacturers: Aura Light, Facal

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