Billboard Office

Coimbra, 2022


João Branco + Paula del Río


Marco Silva

Inês Massano




© João R. Vicente - Model

© do mal o menos

© Frederico Martinho

As the client, a billboard company, took over an old metal workshop for its new headquarters, all the workflow and organisation had to be adapted. This project followed that process, and evolved with it. A ‘work in progress’ that comprised two phases, simultaneously and alternately developed: the revamp of the existing industrial warehouse and the construction of a new office space in a narrow vacant plot.

As the process had to be integrated into the company's daily activities, the entire intervention was slowly built and assembled inside the facilities. As such, slow tempo and constant prototyping were part of the design and building process and led to a very delicate construction, carefully undertaken by two experienced locksmiths.

In the existing industrial warehouse, small adaptations were made to fit the building for its new use. In the area previously occupied by the factory offices, new changing rooms, screwing room, and laser cutting machine room were introduced on the ground floor, while a kitchen dining area and production room were added on the upper floor. A new metal gallery extends the existing area, and a retractable railing allows for loading and unloading with a forklift. Both this structure and the interior partitions, furniture, and the door system that creates a new interior façade were either produced on-site or reused from existing parts.

Regarding the new offices, the limitations of the available area led to a solution of an elongated building, adapted to the natural topography. Its total length, 3 x 50m, is interrupted by courtyards that introduce natural light and ventilation. These courtyards, along with the interior, form a single integrated space, functioning as outdoor interiors. Sliding windows were used to spatially connect the ensemble, and a continuous matte black finish was chosen for both to highlight the external light and the lushness of the vegetation.

The building was designed to be lightweight, efficient, and easy to assemble on-site. For this purpose, the structure, the large longitudinal shelving that spans the entire building, worktables, exterior facade, decks, and shading elements were built in the adjacent factory using metal components that can be handled by just two people. An assembly system was devised to fix the panels to the building structure without the need for glues or screws.

From the ground up (excluding the windows), the entire building has been crafted on-site by just two pairs of hands. And looking ahead, it was designed to be easily dismantled and repurposed or recycled.

The interior is dominated by wooden finishes: walls, ceiling, and tables are made of wood. The constant matte black appearance of the office hides diverse haptic qualities. Additionally, it functions as an acoustic and humidity regulator.

Winter climate control is achieved with a wood stove in the centre of the space and with a radiant floor heating system that takes advantage of the concrete inertia. During the summer, the environment is controlled solely through shading and natural ventilation.