University Canteen and Restaurant

University Canteen and Restaurant

LGLS Architects
Project Year


University Canteen and Restaurant

LGLS Architects as Architects

The building accepts and fulfils its purpose as public equipment and as central piece of the new Health Sciences Campus of the University of Coimbra: as a focal point of several pedestrian paths, as a limit and boundary of the new square and threshold of views to the distant landscape. It responds to a context strongly marked by the topography and the determinations of the pre-existing urban plan.

In terms of functional brief, the interior spaces are organized as superimposed layers. The technical areas are located in the socle; above them, are the refectory rooms according to different management models (self-service, free-flow, grilled area and a la carte). The bar / cafeteria rests at the higher level, with a direct relationship with the square where a XVIIth century chapel stands.

The spaces are articulated around an atrium / hall in which one enters (from the outside) through a concrete pergola that acts as a filter to the views and a modulator of light and shadow throughout the day and the year. From the hall, a direct connection is offered into the main refectory room, marked by a deep blue ceiling, hollowed out by the light, reminiscent of former times, when matter separating the inside from the outside had thickness and gravity. The eating spaces vary in their scale, proportions, views of the landscape and how they seek the sun light. Colour and matter reinforce the differences.

In the process of transforming and proposing the views over the landscape, the building offers ‘places’: different spatial units that support distinct ways of living and experiencing the whole, in an invitation to the individual discovery and architectural experience.

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