Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has unveiled their design for a massive, two-million-square-foot site outside the city of Porto that has already come to be known as ‘Portugal’s Silicon Valley.’ Officially known as ‘Fuse Valley,’ the development has been conceived as a community village that also acts as a ‘manmade extension of the hillside’ it will inhabit.
The project is a collaboration between real estate developer Castro Group and luxury fashion e-commerce platform FARFETCH with BIG leading the design of the complex. Once complete, the site will consist of 24 buildings, 12 of which will house Farfetch’s headquarters. The remainder will be home to other tech companies, small start-ups, various services and an onsite hotel.
“Rather than a corporate office complex, FARFETCH’s future home in fuse valley will be a lively urban ensemble bringing every curator, creator, customer and collaborator together in the most innovative new neighborhood of the city,” says Bjarke Ingels, BIG Founder and Creative Director. “The urban fabric will allow Fuse Valley to grow and expand organically, like a natural village.”
A Unique Urban Neighborhood
BIG’s sustainability-focused design practices has led them to imagine a quite literal interpretation of a village in the hills. Here, community and nature intertwine in the design, with plenty of attention being given to development’s verticality as pathways both above and below connect to the landscaped rooftops. Meanwhile, at the ground level, plazas, parks and terraces have been scattered throughout throughout the complex, connected via a covered central passage, referred to as an ‘urban alley.’
The site runs laterally, east to west, and connects the street side entryway to the expansive Leça River as it flows into Porto. Serving as the main promenade, the alleyway connects to lobbies, auditoriums, commercial spaces and other public access points throughout the community. The building facades at this level are also designed to pull away and create welcoming archways and canopies that lead into adjoining courtyards.
“Fuse Valley is the perfect interpretation of our golden rule, applied to all our projects: location, innovation, sustainability, and technology,” says Paulo Castro, CEO of Castro Group. “What we are going to do in Matosinhos is something unique and that puts this space on the international map of what is best done both in terms of sustainability and in terms of innovation. with this project, we intend to develop a smart city, or in this case, a smart valley.’
The outdoors then bleeds inward, with biophilic elements being included throughout to help increase productivity and wellbeing for those therein. These areas are also grounds for spatial play, with BIG crafting varied experiences based on each space’s individual function. The golden rule, however, still holds, with a running theme of stimulating human exchange and innovation in each.
The project is currently expected to break ground by 2023 and open in 2025.