Portugal fashion

BIG and Castro Group plan “urban fashion village” with hilltop roof

Architecture firm BIG and developer Castro Group unveiled designs for the Fuse Valley development in Porto, which will be home to the headquarters of luxury fashion platform Farfetch as well as tech companies.

Located on the slopes of the Leça River in the northern area of ​​Porto, Portugal, Fuse Valley will contain Farfetch’s headquarters in 12 interconnected buildings.

Top: The Fuse Valley development will be home to Farfetch and a number of tech companies. Above: buildings will have an angular shape

The entire site, described as an “urban fashion village”, will be designed by BIG and will have 24 buildings in total, with the additional buildings intended to house other tech and start-up companies.

The 178,000 square meter Fuse Valley development will feature buildings arranged in a checkerboard pattern and oriented around landscaped parks, courtyards, gardens and plazas.

The structures have an angular design that appears to mimic the surrounding hillside landscape, with hill-shaped peaks and valleys created through sloping green roofs.

Buildings tilt over walkways
The paths of the Fuse Valley are widened by tapered walls

The exterior walls of office buildings are similarly sloped, with grid and chamfered facades tapering to ground level to widen public thoroughfares and create canopies over aisles.

BIG incorporated outdoor trails to lead visitors around the community village and up to the pitched roof offices, creating an extension of the surrounding hill.

“The individual buildings that make up the various elements of the organization are connected to form large contiguous work environments – physically consolidated, but spatially varied to create a human-scale experience,” said BIG partner João Albuquerque.

A sunken amphitheater has been built in the site's gardens
Garden paths lead visitors and employees around the site to outdoor amphitheatres and garden rooftops

Farfetch’s head office will occupy half of the Fuse Valley site, with office space suitable for a number of different functions.

Next to the head office, an “urban alley” on its east side, facing the river, will house an auditorium, a canteen and wellness facilities.

“Rather than a corporate office complex, Farfetch’s future home in Fuse Valley will be a vibrant urban ensemble bringing together all curators, designers, clients and collaborators in the city’s most innovative new neighborhood,” said the founder of BIG, Bjarke Ingels.

“The urban fabric will allow Fuse Valley to grow and expand organically, like a natural village.

A garden has been placed on the sloping roof in Fuse Valley
The roof becomes an extension of the hill with paths leading people through the sloping roof

Open plan spaces will provide employees with flexible work areas, with additional terraces to extend interior spaces to the outdoors.

The upper levels of the building will form “workshop-type attics” with the sloping roofline creating triple-height spaces that narrow towards the terraces.

The interior of Fuse Valley has a light and airy appearance
Full height windows on each level will connect the interior to the exterior

“What we are going to do in Matosinhos is something unique and that places this space on the international map of what is best done in terms of sustainability and innovation,” said Paulo Castro, CEO of the Castro Group.

“With this project, we intend to develop a smart city, or in this case, a smart valley.”

Fuse Valley is expected to lead the way in early 2023 and is expected to officially open in 2025.

Trees and planters will be placed inside the offices
The interior seeks to provide a biophilic environment for employees

Recently, BIG innovated on CityWave, a panoramic roof building that also serves as a photovoltaic power plant and aims to visually connect the CityLife development in Milan.

BIG also unveiled a double helix spiral observation tower in Denmark earlier this year.

Images are courtesy of BIG.

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