The implementation of democracy in Portugal on April 25th 1974 led to a democratization of higher education and, therefore, the University of Coimbra had necessarly to widen its facilities and to build two more university centres: Pólo II and Pólo III. The upper town University includes only a part of the current University of Coimbra that occupies several areas of the city with its 8 faculties, dozens of research centres, an Interdisciplinary Research Centre, entrepreneurial centres, a university stadium, a Science Museum, an academic theatre – Teatro Académico Gil Vicente – a Botanical Garden, students’ support structures (guesthouses, university restaurants, bars, study rooms, leisure rooms) and Portugal’s biggest academy.
Pólo II, known as the “Engineering Centre”, was built upon Boavista hill, overlooking the Mondego river. It was designed by Portuguese architects Mercês Vieira and Camilo Cortesão. But other prestigious national architects have also left their mark on the “Engineering Centre”:
– Departments of Electric Engineering and Computer Engineering – Gonçalo Byrne
– University Residence/ Centine and Central Learning Centre – Manuel and Francisco Aires Mateus
– Department of Chemical Engineering – Vasco Cunha
– Department of Mechanical Engineering – Manuel Tainha
– Department of Civil Engineering – Fernando Távora
By the end of the 20th century, the University of Coimbra has grown immensely. Never before had this institution included so many buildings.
In 1992, the so-called Pólo II began to be built in the pine forest Pinhal de Marrocos, embracing an area similar to Pólo 1, based on the upper-town University. The Departments of Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Civil Engineering (Faculty of Sciences and Technology) opened its doors in 2001.