Location: Bragança, Portugal.

Architect: giulia de appolonia officina di architettura.

The Museo della Scienza Viva/CMIA is a museum located in Bragança, Portugal, designed by architect Giulia de Appolonia. The project was born from a design competition for young architects published by Bragançapolis in association with Europan. The building is characterized by a large “sheet” of concrete that appears completely suspended on the glass facade, thanks to the structural stiffening conferred by the folds applied to the roof, which create the parapets that lighten the supports. The facade system consists of a parasitic use of the building supporting structure, in order to avoid vertical uprights in the facade. The building interior structure is characterized by the definition of two large exhibition halls, whose volumetric features and natural lighting are different. Moreover, the connective supporting space is designed as an open space that runs indoor, between the two rooms, and outdoor seamless. The indoor/outdoor limit dematerializes on the glass surfaces of the facade, by expanding the interior space up to the containment walls of the ground, and by blending the interior with the exterior landscape into a single substance. The building incorporates different natural systems to reduce the need for climate control, including a facade with direct absorption of solar thermal energy, a natural ventilation system and a structural cooling system during night-time, a heating and cooling system through a radiant floor, and a monitoring system for the energy consumption integrated with the exhibition contents. Visitors can review the operations of the different systems and interact with them. The project has won several awards, including the A-Prize in Milan, the Gold Medal for Italian Architecture, and the International Prize for Sustainable Architecture.