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CCDM – Materials Development and Characterization Center | GPA&A
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CCDM – Materials Development and Characterization Center

CCDM – Materials Development and Characterization Center (Centro de Caracterização e Desenvolvimento de Materiais)

UFSCar’s CCDM is a research, development and innovation center, where processes and products are tested, created and perfected. It’s a place of constant seek for knowledge, of a fertile intimacy with interrogation.

The inspiration to a scientist at work comes from curiosity, because searching is questioning. The doubt and the will to unveil secrets make their work progress: where has the material failed? How was corrosion formed? Is it right to mix a polymer and sawdust? Does the ceramics stand the friction? From the answers, new questions emerge, in an inexhaustible process.

Remember the words of Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu: “Clay is fashioned into vessels; but it is on their empty hollowness that their use depends”.

It’s not the container that begets the use, it’s the content. The content of this building is the question, which is made by people and supported by the equipment. Besides following the technical requisites of the architectural plant, the building must extol the human process of questioning and represent this magical mission.

The first step was to create the element that visually characterizes the head of the building. This head parallels Science and contemplation of the world. It’s faced North, bathed in sunlight, a metaphor for knowledge. It has photovoltaic modules on it, solar radiators that vouch for the bioefficiency of the building. Also there, satellite dishes make the connection with the wide world.

That’s where a brand new place comes about, one that is demanded by neuroscience and by meditation supporters: the Penseiro (the “think lounge”). That’s an ideal place for thinking deeply and being surprised by ideas and solutions. It embraces the notion of “creative idleness” (by Domenico De Masi), reckoning the importance of play time and free time in creative thinking. Besides being a welcoming place with a living room, with convenient spaces for meetings, it also has gym equipment, for a “Mens sana in corpore sano” balance.

These ideas establish the iconography of the building, which is universal and prompts us to think of other cultures. They are origami or tangram folds, mathematical and spatial perception exercises. At one time playful and scientific, the building holds surprises.

Light and shadows, open and closed, tall and short, the ideas set off our sensory intelligence. The free form flows from the inside out, and from the outside in, in a continuous game. On the inside, a prime collaborative ambient: everything is connected, supportive, simultaneous. The structure is clean and airy.

An internal living patio can also be found. There’s no use in people getting isolated onto their computers, developing private knowledge in private rooms. There must be a flow of ideas that runs inside of the building and allows for critical view and debate as means of improving. While the Penseiro is a dimension in which we can dive into our own thoughts, the patio is for coexistence and participation.

The building celebrates secrets and disclosures. By being its own museum, it preserves its memories and passes along the values and testimonies of those who once were there. Its outside has mysterious something, like a restricted access nature, and this calls for curiosity. On the inside, it manifests movement, enthusiasm and spontaneous contact with nature.

Its constituent parts are dynamic, purposefully unaligned, so as to stimulate people in the search for new paradigms and successive developments. The many aspects generate multiple light and rhythm effects.

The strong figure aims at stimulating the self-esteem of the workers inside, and it turns the headquarters of CCDM into a symbol of this institution that designs its new sets of great challenges.

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Project name: CCDM – Materials Development and Characterization Center
Architecture: 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
Location: São Carlos College – São Paulo – Brasil
Year designed: 2010 – 2011
Projected area: 5.800m2
Images: Casa Digital