BIG plans tech company HQ 'as a manmade extension of the hillside' in portugal

Sep 28, 2021

bjarke ingels group / BIG has unveiled designs for a 178,000 sqm art-filled site for tech companies called ‘fuse valley’. already dubbed by many as ‘the portuguese silicon valley’, the project is conceived as a community village that will occupy a hillside site 7km from the center of porto.

the extensive scheme has been developed by BIG alongside real estate developer castro group and fashion e-commerce platform FARFETCH, whose new headquarters will occupy 12 interconnected buildings within fuse valley.

fuse valley is composed of 24 buildings home to various tech companies, startups and services. the design prioritizes creating a sense of community and forging connection to the outdoors with plazas, parks, courtyards, terraces, and landscaped roofs, accessed by natural paths, that rise and fall with the contours of the land.

bjarke ingels, BIG founder and creative director, explains, ‘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. the urban fabric will allow fuse valley to grow and expand organically, like a natural village.’

a covered central passage, or ‘urban alley’, slices through the site from east to west, street to river. public functions such as lobbies, an auditorium and commercial spaces will be located at ground level along this central promenade as well as the riverfront. to create a continuous and accessible public realm, building façades at ground level recede to create welcoming canopies while chamfered corners generate archways and openings between the courtyards.

paulo castro, CEO of castro group, says ‘fuse valley is the perfect interpretation of our golden rule, applied to all our projects: location, innovation, sustainability, and technology. 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.’

for the interiors, the project team prioritizes a biophilic environment to increase productivity and wellbeing in addition to varied spatial experiences tailored to each specific program, stimulating human exchange and innovation.

‘the individual buildings that constitute the various elements of the organization are connected to form large contiguous work environments – physically consolidated, but spatially varied to create a human-scale experience,’ says joao albuquerque, BIG partner in charge.

atelier-like attics with additional ceiling heights and open mezzanines are created by the sloping roofs of the buildings. open connections extend from the attic mezzanines all the way to the ground, creating visual and physical connectivity across all floors.

josé neves, FARFETCH founder, CEO and chairman, comments, ‘we are very excited about this project and the vision that bjarke ingels has presented to us, not only because of what it will mean as a milestone for the company, for our people, but also for the community. this project will be a revolution on the current concepts of workspaces, marked by its futuristic nature, by the orientation towards sustainability and wellbeing. it will be a space not only for FARFETCH, but for the entire community.’

FARFETCH HQ is slated to break ground by early 2023 and open in 2025 as part of fuse valley.

landscaped roofs are accessed by natural paths

project info:


location: leça do balio, matosinhos, portugal

architecture: bjarke ingels group / BIG program: commercial status: in progress size: 178,000 sqm project type: competition client: FARFETCH, CASTRO GROUP collaborators: OODA (executive architect – competition) ventura & partners arquitectos (executive architect) dimscale (cost management) quadrante (engineering and sustainability design) PROAP arquitectura paisagista (landscape design) FILAMENTO (lighting design) PACIFICA (signage & wayfinding design) LIMSEN (BIM manager) FEUP/IC (BIM manager) VHM (allotment architect) AMBISITUS (environmental study) ENGIMIND (traffic consultant) CORE (project management) CASTRO RED (project management) AFA (engineering plot B) NdBIM (BIM manager plot B)

project team: partner-in-charge: bjarke ingels, joao albuquerque project leader: hanna johansson project manager: natacha fernandes da ponte viveiros project architect: mireia sala font team: angel barreno, alberto gonzalez-garces, geoffrey eberly, gonzalo castro, gonzalo coronado, jakub fratczak, javier mora, mathieu michel, matthew reger,  paula madrid, stefani fachini,tristany serra, wei lesley, alvaro villanueva, ariadna mejias, elena ceribelli, gabriella luppi, gabriela dal seco, giulia orlando, lena mariella von buren, miquel benedito, raphaël logan & ragna nordström