New Building of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon
The first preliminary programme, led by Architect Teresa Carvalho, is dated March 2000. It envisaged the construction of a Laboratory for Research and Teaching in Medical Microbiology to replace the Câmara Pestana Bacteriological Institute to be given to the Faculty of Medical Sciences of the New University of Lisbon (UNL) and which would be adjacent to the Egas Moniz Building due to the complementary of some areas that had been programmed, namely the vivarium, the classes for theoretical classes and the library.
The estimated cost for a total gross area of 7,580 m2, excluding furniture and laboratory equipment, was 913.489cts. The distribution of usable areas was as follows:
The Programme Contract was signed on 4 December by the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Science and Technology, and the University of Lisbon, and foresaw the allocation of 1.019.304cts for the building work, 50.000cts for work in the surroundings, and 203.881cts for machinery and equipment.
The contract with the company GB - Arquitectos, Lda to prepare the “Project for the Re-establishment of the Building of the Câmara Pestana Institute” was signed in early 2005.
A Project Steering Committee was set up in 2007, formed by Professor Fernandes e Fernandes, Professor Melo Cristino and Isabel Aguiar. Given the technical specificities of the building, FMUL hired the consulting services of D. Maria José Proença, who, at the time, was responsible for the management of the Research Laboratories of the Institute of Molecular Medicine and whose CV and knowledge across the various scientific output activities were deemed an asset in this process.
Financial constrains did limit the options of the Steering Committee, including the distribution of the areas to be built, such as the construction of an auditorium with a capacity similar to that of the Large Auditorium of the Egas Moniz Building, and covered parking. The government authorities imposed a maximum construction cost in order to authorise the project.
The final version of the project presented for Public Tender for execution of the contract had the following level distribution:
It was only on 26 July 2011 that the contract for the construction of the new building, in the amount of 4,098,803.69€, was signed between the company José Coutinho SA and the University of Lisbon, with 100% funding from the University of Lisbon PIDDAC funds. The construction period was estimated at 365 days.
Fig. 1 – Model of the Building, produced by GB-ArquitectosThe Future
The strategy defined by the Faculty of Medicine of Lisbon and the need to foster differentiated scientific activity were at the basis of a new distribution of spaces and functional areas, in an attempt to reduce redundancies and to ensure appropriate conditions for new educational projects, particularly with regard to postgraduate teaching and translational research.
The Implementation Steering Committee (formed by Professors J. Fernandes e Fernandes, Miguel Castanho, Maria do Carmo Fonseca, Melo Cristino, Fausto Pinto and Mário Ramirez, and by Drs Isabel Aguiar and Manuela Castro) came to the conclusion that it was important to provide conditions for the future setting up of new research groups that privileged the interconnection with partners from the Academic Centre: the Institute of Molecular Medicine (IMM) and the Northern Lisbon Hospital Centre (CHLN) and to eliminate redundancies by creating facilities in the SMH and the Vivarium, namely the P3 high security microbiology laboratories, and ensure safe conditions for all undergraduate and postgraduate educational activity and for the practical component of the Microbiology sector.
Briefly, the setting up of the following units was proposed:
- Bioimaging centre, which will take up an area of 350m2. It is expected it will have a 3 Tesla MRI machine for morphological and functional studies.
- Simulation Centre, which aims to bring together into a single area all simulation activities conducted in a “non-living” environment. The Experimental Surgery Centre of the CHLN will be its privileged partner, and there are plans to create areas representing the Operating Room, the Intensive Care Unit, the Emergency Room, General Care, Obstetrics and Paediatrics, allowing centralizing existing training activities, such as Introduction to Surgery Courses and vascular surgery practical workshops, among others. These permanent rooms will function in parallel with other multipurpose rooms located in the Main Building and in the Egas Moniz Building.
- Cardiovascular Centre, which arises from the need to expand research in the area of Cardiovascular Diseases, particularly with regard to clinical and translational research.
There are plans to set up a Cardiovascular Imaging Laboratory for small animals and cardiovascular procedures simulation programmes as part of the Simulation Centre.
- Clinical Research Centre, within the institutions that are part of the Academic Centre, for the development of clinical trials and research of new technological developments applied to Medicine.
- Condominium for Research/Teaching – this area is to be made available to new scientific and technological research groups interested in working at institutions of the Academic Centre and will consist of Research Laboratories, Working Rooms, Study Rooms and Rooms containing specific equipment.
- Engineering and Biomedical Technologies Centre, to be developed in collaboration with the Higher Technical Institute in the framework of the existing Integrated Master Degree in Biomedical Engineering and planned future initiatives.
Communication with the Egas Moniz Building is vital for greater effectiveness and efficiency. This need has been duly presented to the Rector’s Office of the UL, the owner of the work, and we are waiting for funds to become available to build a tunnel (more feasible, from a technical perspective) interconnecting the two buildings.
The construction of this building represents a strategic goal, for which reason it should not aim at producing immediate results; times of difficult economic and structural constraints require boldness and creativity in order to attain capacity for growth through innovation in the long term. This is the basis of the argument presented to the Rector of the University of Lisbon for the construction of an infrastructure capable of accommodating a 7 Tesla MRI equipment in the future. Costs associated with the construction stage of the work will be significantly smaller than any intervention made a posteriori.
Indeed, the building will become the hub that will accommodate the new capabilities that will be jointly developed as part of the merger between the Classical and Technical Universities of Lisbon, and develop into a focal point for the development of Life Sciences.
Twelve years after the first sketch, we are finally seeing a reality emerging and a need of the School being addressed.
Photos of the work (taken on 5/January /2012)
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