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The Materials Characterization and Development Center (CCDM), da UFSCar, is a space for research, development and innovation, where processes and products are tested, created and improved. It is the place of the constant search for knowledge, the fruitful coexistence with interrogation. 

What inspires a scientist to work is curiosity, because to research is to ask. Doubt and the desire to discover secrets drive your work: where did the material fail? What caused the corrosion? Does mixing polymer with sawdust work? Does ceramic withstand certain friction? From the answers, other questions arise, in an inexhaustible process.

We remember what the Chinese thinker Lao-Tzu said: “the potter makes a vase by manipulating clay. But it is the hollow of the vase that makes it useful.”

Utility is not given by the continent, but by the content. The content of this building is the question, asked by people and supported by equipment. It is in the head that the mechanism of the question is processed. In addition to fully responding to the technical requirements of the architectural program, the building must enhance the human process of questioning and symbolize this magical mission.

The first step was to create an element that visually defines the head of the building. It reflects science and the contemplation of the world. It faces north, receiving sunlight, a metaphor for knowledge. In it, photovoltaic panels and solar radiators are installed that guarantee bioefficiency to the building. There, too, the satellite dishes, connection with the vast world.

It is there that an innovative place, demanded by neuroscience and meditation adepts, emerges: the Pensieve, a space reserved for thinking deeply and being surprised by new ideas and solutions. He embodies the concept of “creative leisure” (by Domenico De Masi), recognizing the importance of play and free time in creativity. In addition to being a welcoming space like a living room, with places suitable for meeting, it also features exercise equipment, in a balance “Mens sana in corpore sano”.

These ideas define the iconographic form of the building, universal, and refer us to other cultures. There are millenary origami and tangram foldings, mathematical and spatial vision exercises. At the same time playful and scientific, it holds surprises.

Light and shadows, open and closed, high and low, instigate our sensory intelligence. Free form flows from the inside to the outside and from the outside to the inside, in a continuous game. Inside, the environment of collective action: everything interconnected, solidary, committed, simultaneous. The structure is clean and airy.

There is also an inner courtyard for living. It is useless for people to isolate themselves in their computers, keeping exclusive knowledge in an exclusive room. There must be a flow of ideas that runs through the interior of the building and allows for a critical view and debate as a form of improvement. While the Pensero is a dimension to delve into ourselves, the patio is the space for conviviality and participation.

The building celebrates secrets and discoveries. Being its own museum, it preserves its memories, transmitting values and testimonies of those who passed through it. The exterior expresses something mysterious, with controlled access, which instigates curiosity. At the same time, internally, it presents movement, enthusiasm, spontaneity in contact with nature.

Its components are dynamic, intentionally displaced from the alignments, to stimulate people in the search for new paradigms and successive developments. Various facets generate multiple effects of luminosity and rhythm.

The strong image wants to stimulate the self-esteem of those who work there and transforms the headquarters do CCDM  into the symbol of the institution that is now designing its new time of great challenges.


Gustavo Penna, Norberto Bambozzi, Laura Penna, Priscila Dias de Araújo, Letícia de Paula Carneiro, Marcus Flávio Martins, Vivian Hunnicutt, Alyne Ferreira, Natália Ponciano, Catarina Hermanny, Alice Leite Flores, Ana Isabel de Sá

Management and Planning

Rísia Botrel, Isabela Tolentino


São Carlos – São Paulo  – Brazil


Technical Data
Year of the project: 2010/2011

Built area: approximately 5,800m²

Digital House


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