In fact it is just one element, and while it is the most eye-catching, the entire ensemble has a daring geometry. The other elements, which have white rendered faces, combined curved and straight forms, are raised on stilts, and have some deliberately small punched windows. This assembly of buildings has a deliberate presence, fitting for the most important building in a municipality. Its complex form reflects the range of activities that it has to accommodate: government activities and the administration associated with them; support the local community; provide recreational and cultural activities; and, act as a reception space for initiatives and projects initiated by young members of the community.

In both symbolic and practical terms, it made sense to divide these activities between different volumes. The governmental functions are contained within the cube, comprising not only a council chamber but also offices for the president and officers of the council, as well as some auxiliary services. All these are at second floor level, accessed by an internal bridge from the main building.

The architect, A. Cesario Moreira, founder of CMCFArquitectos, sees this as not just a rational way of dividing functions but also as a means of pointing up the importance and power of the council. Having selected the form of the cube, the decision to design it with a metal frame and clad it in aluminium was, he said, an obvious one.

The aluminium sheet had practical advantages which he lists as including durability, low installation costs and low maintenance requirements. It could be used on both walls and roof, giving a continuous form to the cube and, with its semi-reflective finish, is able to convey both solidity and a certain outward-reaching nature.

On the roof element, where the slope is fairly shallow and there are no gutters – rainwater is allowed to simply run off -  Moreira specified an additional waterproofing layer in a belt-and-braces approach, despite the fact that the aluminium surface is itself sealed. He was impressed by the fact that he received high levels of quality and technical support during the installation process.

Generous levels of insulation coupled with a degree of thought given to the positioning and overshadowing of windows, help to create good environmental credentials.

The result is a building that proclaims immediately that it is something special, even if you do not know what that special something is. The interesting shapes on the outside are echoed on the inside and, with windows set at unusual angles, or contained within tilted facades, it is as obvious to those inside as to passers-by that something special is going on. It is gratifying that quality and durability have been married with this exercise of the imagination.

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The Ecca collection showcases the world's architectural achievements using prepainted metal.

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