Canoeing center wrapped in recycled materials resists winter flooding

February 17, 2017 by  
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Portuguese multidisciplinary design studio ateliermob completed the Alvega Canoeing Center, a contemporary building that’s sustainably designed and ruggedly handsome. Located on the banks of Portugal’s Tagus River, the Alvega Canoeing Center is elevated to avoid the regular winter floods and to minimize soil degradation . Recycled black plastic profiles wrap around the canoeing center, which comprises three separate volumes, to give the structure a sense of cohesiveness and to allow natural light to pass through while providing privacy. Built to replace a former flood-damaged structure, the Alvega Canoeing Center was commissioned as part of a design competition that sought a sturdier and more sustainable design solution. The new building is the same size as the former structure but is raised on stilts and clad in black recycled plastic profiles . The plastic profiles were chosen for their ability to withstand the impact of objects that could be pushed against the building by rising floodwaters . Bright red recycled plastic profiles form the railing of the outdoor walkway and create a vivid contrast to the black facade. Related: 6 amphibious houses that float to escape flooding The 320-square-meter Alvega Canoeing Center comprises three volumes consisting of a cafeteria, boat storage area, and changing cabins , all supported on a raised concrete platform. “The proposed structure sought to improve the site, characterizing it as a renewed space for leisure and meeting for the local community, in addition to the associated nautical activities,” write the architects. “Thus, the impacts were minimized, significantly reducing soil impermeabilization and movement of land, and maintaining the vegetation characteristics, safeguarding the natural landscape.” Additional public amenities include the outdoor terrace, barbecue area, and staircase that can be used in a small amphitheater -like space. + ateliermob Via Archinect Images © Francisco Nogueira

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Canoeing center wrapped in recycled materials resists winter flooding

Flowing home in Portugal challenges the rectangular architecture of its neighbors

February 13, 2017 by  
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With its bold curved walls and inner courtyard focus, this minimalist house in Portugal creates a strong sense of intimacy while challenging the architecture of neighboring buildings. dIONISO LAB designed House L27 with the patio as the main protagonist, blurring the line between interior and exterior spaces, yet remaining relatively opaque when seen from the street. The house is located in a suburban area of Póvoa de Varzim in Northern P ortugal . Its design was derived from the area’s new masterplan , dominated by residential lots with centrally positioned structures surrounding by garden and paved areas. The architects came up with an unusual, fluid layout that competes with the predominantly rectangular architecture in its immediate surroundings. Related: Fortress-like house in Portugal hides a surprising light-filled courtyard inside The first floor houses the main social spaces and private areas, while the living room, library, storage and garage occupy the second floor. Offering expansive views of the area, the rooftop terrace can have several uses, including entertaining guests and sunbathing. + dIONISO LAB Photos by Fernando Guerra | FG+SG

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Flowing home in Portugal challenges the rectangular architecture of its neighbors

Damaged Oroville spillway in California prompts mass evacuations

February 13, 2017 by  
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Winter storms continue to drench California , and over the weekend people living near Oroville in Northern California faced a crisis. After officials noticed a hole in the emergency spillway at the United States’ tallest dam , around 180,000 residents were ordered to evacuate , some given just one hour to flee their homes. Flooding in the area had been a threat for around a week as the reservoir behind Oroville Dam reached capacity. When the main spillway started eroding, officials opened an emergency spillway that’s never been used since the dam was built in the 1960’s. But then officials noticed the hole, and ordered evacuations on Sunday. Some residents had just one hour’s notice before officials feared the auxiliary spillway could fail, which could precipitate “an uncontrolled release of flood waters from Lake Oroville,” according to the National Weather Service . Related: Record winter storm pounds California Late Sunday reservoir water levels finally lowered, providing a bit of a respite. But officials said evacuations should continue, and conditions are still perilous. Governor Jerry Brown proclaimed a state of emergency on Sunday for three counties , saying in a statement, “I’ve been in close contact with emergency personnel managing the situation in Oroville throughout the weekend and it’s clear the circumstances are complex and rapidly changing.” During the night evacuation shelters were still being outfitted with blankets and beds, according to NPR. Gizmodo reports residents of Oroville, Wheatland, Marysville, Plumas Lake, Hallwood, and Olivehurst were told to evacuate. According to the Los Angeles Times, if the emergency spillway failed, large amounts of water could gush into the Feather River, which travels through downtown Oroville. Flooding and levee failures would likely follow in the wake of a spillway failure for miles south of the Oroville Dam. Many communities could be flooded if that were to happen. Via NPR , the Los Angeles Times , and Gizmodo Images via California Department of Water Resources Facebook and Wikimedia Commons

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Damaged Oroville spillway in California prompts mass evacuations

Historic tram depot reborn as chic co-working space and restaurant in Amsterdam

February 13, 2017 by  
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As if charming canals and beautiful bicycle paths weren’t reasons enough to visit Amsterdam, the cosmopolitan city just welcomed another beautiful landmark with a gorgeous multipurpose space for both work and play. Converted from a former tram depot in Amsterdam west by design firm Studio Modijefsky , the cavernous Kanarie Club is a stunning example of adaptive reuse that’s refreshingly modern without compromising the building’s historic integrity. Although Amsterdam is better known for its canals, the city also prides itself on its extensive tram network still in use today. To pay tribute to the old trams, the architects carefully preserved elements of the De Hallen tram depot, formerly used to service broken trams, during the restoration process. The new interior pays homage to the materials and color palette of the 19th century tram depot, from the custom-made furniture that mimics the vintage design of old electric tram seats to the tram signage and language adopted for the restaurant signage. The architects bring greater attention to the old trams with light-integrated arches and enclaves aligned with the tram rails in the ground. Tall vaulted ceilings, skylights, and large windows fill the venue with natural light, while the open layout adds to the sense of spaciousness. Exposed brick, industrial lighting, and multiple references to the tram depot’s history give the space an industrial chic vibe, while the bold colors, strings of light, and tropical plants gives it a playful edge. The centrally located bar placed atop a platform forms the focal point of the venue. Level changes help delineate different spaces. During the day the Kanarie Club functions more as co-working space and is outfitted with lockers, charging points, and built-in USBs. The space also has restaurant amenities and a kitchen. Related: Old potato barns come back to life as a pair of modern and stylish homes The most playful space in the Kanarie Club is the Pool Bar, a lounge area with a blue-painted pool that has no water. Studio Modijefsky writes: “The concept is taken from the squatters who used to live in the old tram depot before its renovation, they used the leaking water from the ceiling to create an inside pool for themselves. The new pool however will not be filled with water. With round comfy cushions and a splash of blue everywhere, it’s the perfect place to unwind and enjoy a cocktail. Made out of blue rubber with a stroke of matching tiles, the pool is complimented with a typical pool railing and a wavy mirror element on the bar lift. Pool signs and graphics with a direct reference to swimming pool rules have been used in the space to emphasize the identity of this part of the interior.” + Studio Modijefsky Images by Maarten Willemstein

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Historic tram depot reborn as chic co-working space and restaurant in Amsterdam

Old watermill recycled into modern light-filled refuge in Portugal

February 3, 2017 by  
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Down on the banks of a beautiful creek sits a beautiful and modern refuge that blends in with its environment. Ansião-based architecture practice Bruno Lucas Dias designed this rentable lodge constructed with recycled materials from an old watermill . Nestled in Portugal’s Ponte de São Simão, the contemporary home, called Watermill on the Crag (Moinho das Fragas), was constructed on a modest budget and saves costs with its energy-efficient design. The Watermill on the Crag is largely constructed with natural materials that blend the home into its forested surroundings. Crafted from an old watermill, the building’s external walls are constructed of stone , matching the craggy cliff faces of Saint Simon. “This local lodging project is born out of the respect of the existing language, and aims to requalify the constructions and their context, faithfully respecting, as much as possible, its past use,” write the architects. Related: Water Pumping Mill Transformed Into Self-Sustaining Residence The watermill’s stone exterior was mostly left intact save for new double-glazed wooden window frames and thermal improvements to the roof. In contrast, the interior was largely revamped with white walls and surfaces covered with locally sourced pinewood . The building contains a bedroom that sleeps two, a bathroom, and open-plan living room, dining area, and kitchen, as well as an outdoor terrace with views of the mountains and creek. + Bruno Lucas Dias Images by Hugo Santos Silva

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Old watermill recycled into modern light-filled refuge in Portugal

Rehabilitated Longroiva’s Hotel & Thermal Spa blends into the countryside of northeast Portugal

October 5, 2016 by  
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The thermal baths are located in Mêda, a municipality in northeast Portugal, and go back to Roman times. Built in the late 19th century, the existing Thermal Spa was rehabilitated to accommodate 17 rooms and various common areas where guests can meet and socialize. A walkway connects the existing building to the addition, which comprises five room modules built along the slope, with several gathering spaces in between them. Related: Thermal Pool Wrapped With a Living Wall Service areas and 10 new bungalows are located above the rooms. By combining traditional references and modern architecture, the development establishes a dialogue with its natural surroundings while providing its guests with a contemporary facility. + Rebelo de Andrade Via Archdaily Photos by Fernando Guerra | FG+SG

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Rehabilitated Longroiva’s Hotel & Thermal Spa blends into the countryside of northeast Portugal

Extraordinary Red Hill rammed-earth residence’s funky funnel shape helps direct light

August 24, 2016 by  
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The single-story residence is located near Melbourne , on the Mornington Peninsula. Built for a winery owner, the house combines modern and traditional building materials and features warm details that reference rural architecture. Its minimalist volume forms a large canopy oriented toward the vineyard, sheltering a large terrace framed with a transparent glass balustrade. Related: Vineyard House uses rammed earth to stay cool in Portugal’s hot summers The open-plan interior received plenty of natural light through large, continuous glass windows and a timber-lined skylight . Toughened-glass panels create a visual connection between the ground floor and a large wine cellar in the basement which is supported by wooden beams . Wood permeates the entire structure, both structurally and in detail. “The home’s use of timber , both in the interior and exterior of the design, allows the materials to age naturally and blend in with the landscape,” explained the architects. + Finnis Architects Via Dezeen Photos by Les Hams

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Extraordinary Red Hill rammed-earth residence’s funky funnel shape helps direct light

Take a spin inside this psychedelic ball made of hammers at Porto’s midsummer festival

August 2, 2016 by  
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The hammers that make up the carousel’s exterior are a traditional component of the biggest annual party in the city, the Festa de São João do Porto (St. John’s Festival of Porto). Each year, the midsummer festival invites celebrants to hit one another on the head with the colorful plastic mallets (among other peculiar activities ). Using hundreds of those same hammers in the carousel elevates the playful tradition to new heights, infusing a whisper of modern art as well. Related: Fantastic solar-powered carousel with a green roof in NYC Visitors can climb right inside the GiRA carousel and manually work a swivel mechanism to spin the whole structure, much like a child’s merry-go-round. Once spinning at full clip, the carousel’s colorful exterior becomes a psychedelic blur. MAARQA’s play on the recognizable plastic hammers was meant to inspire revelry and enhance the festivities of the celebration, and it’s safe to say the GiRA carousel accomplished that goal and more. + Micro Atelier de Arquitectura e Arte Via urdesign Images via Carlos Lobão

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Take a spin inside this psychedelic ball made of hammers at Porto’s midsummer festival

Mercedes-Benz just unveiled the world’s first all-electric big rig truck

July 29, 2016 by  
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Imagine a future where big rig trucks slide quietly down the road, powered by electricity . Tesla has been working for years to make this vision happen – but this week, Mercedes-Benz beat them to the punch. The Urban eTruck is the world’s first fully electric big rig – and it’s quiet, powerful, and has an admissible total weight of around 29 tons. The Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck can only travel up to 124 miles, so it wouldn’t be ideal for the long treks truckers often make to transport goods. Instead, Daimler designed the eTruck for city transportation. A fleet of emissions-free electric trucks could significantly reduce the air pollution many cities battle. Related: This tiny shape-shifting sideways-driving car could mark the end of parallel parking The company hopes to start producing the eTruck around the “beginning of the next decade.” By that time, they hope technology and battery advances will make the eTruck even more efficient and cost-effective. Daimler board member Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard said in a press release, “Electric drive systems previously only saw extremely limited use in trucks. Nowadays costs, performance, and charging times develop further so rapidly that now there is a trend reversal in the distribution sector: the time is ripe for the electric truck.” Daimler’s Fuso Canter E-Cell “light-duty trucks” have undergone tests for a few years now. In Portugal, successful fleet trials saw the light trucks drive just over 31,000 miles in a year. According to the company, the light trucks “reduced CO2 emissions by 37 percent compared to diesel engines.” Just about a week ago, Elon Musk revealed in a blog post that his company is also working on a Tesla Semi , which they plan to unveil in 2017. Now it’s a race to see who will start producing their electric big rig first. + Mercedes-Benz Via Engadget Images via Daimler

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Mercedes-Benz just unveiled the world’s first all-electric big rig truck

A2OFFICE transforms Porto townhouse into a modern daylit residence

May 31, 2016 by  
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The building, comprising a basement, two floors, attic and small patio , is located in the central part of Porto . A single staircase connects all levels. In order to facilitate a spatial flow and openness, the architects introduced an interconnected social area on the lower levels. Related: The Outerio House is a 3 Meter Wide Modernist Renovation Two bedroom suites were placed on the top floor. In order to preserve the memory of a lantern on the first floor, the team formed three new clerestory windows . These openings provide additional natural light for the entire space, including the attic area. A minimalist lighting system was integrated into the walls, cabinets and ceilings. + A2OFFICE Photos by AL.MA Fotografia | Alexandra Marques

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