The new TENSAI administrative office building is located in northern Portugal (Oporto district) in the town of Leça da Palmeira - a few hundred meters from the Atlantic Ocean - occupying two pre-existing houses built in the early twentieth century. It is part of a mostly residential area dominated by buildings with two-storeys and covered by a traditional roof - typology is characterised by the surrounding blocks.
Since the beginning, as the project is a refurbishiment of two old houses, there was a strong desire to integrate environmental sustainability. The new building is completely insulated from the outside, from the ground floor to the roof, with a system of high density polyurethane boards, over which an innovative technique was applied using a sealant paint that is resistant to wear caused by abrasion, UV, winds and sands. This option allowed covering the roof with the same material, reinforcing its geometric shape.
The project is the result of the following guiding principles: unify both formally and functionally the two buildings under one roof; maintain the scale and proportions of pre-existing buildings as an essential factor for successful integration into the surroundings; adapt the design of the buildings to new functions without losing the brand identity of the past - but create a new institutional image able to define itself as a corporative image.
The separation of materials in the facade follows the separation of floors inside. Thus, the project attempts to unite old and new, creating inter-relationships of proportion and alignment, suggesting complicity between the various parties by making parts of the whole and vice-versa. Examples of this are the exhaustive alignment of joints of stones on the façades with windows and doors, or the commitment of ceiling lighting with windows and doors.