104% of Portugal’s electricity consumption in March came from renewable energy

April 5, 2018 by  
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March was a good month for renewable energy in Portugal . The country’s monthly clean energy production exceeded demand, according to a report from the Portuguese Renewable Energy Association (APREN) and the Sustainable Earth System Association (ZERO). And this likely won’t be the last time Portugal obtains so much power via clean sources; the report said, “Last month’s achievement is an example of what will happen more frequently in the near future.” APREN, citing data via power grid operator REN , said mainland Portugal’s electricity consumption was 4,647 gigawatt-hours (GWh). In March, there were 4,812 GWh of renewable electricity produced, accounting for 103.6 percent of electricity consumption. It wasn’t a completely clean month —  Reuters  said fossil fuel plants complemented the supply during short periods, but those periods “were nevertheless fully compensated by others of greater renewable production,” according to APREN’s report. Related: This German village generates 500% more energy than it needs Wind and hydropower accounted for 42 and 55 percent, respectively, of the monthly consumption. Portugal’s adoption of renewable energy allowed the nation to avoid 1.8 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions . The average daily wholesale market price dropped to 39.75 euros per megawatt-hour (MWh), compared against the price of 43.94 euros per MWh during the same period the previous year. The report said, “…it is expected that by 2040 the production of renewable electricity will be able to guarantee, in a cost-effective way, the total annual electricity consumption of mainland Portugal. However, it will eventually be necessary, here and then, the use of natural gas power plants, aggregated to interconnections and storage.” IFLScience said Portugal aims to be carbon neutral by 2050. While this recent milestone is exciting, Portugal, home to around 10.3 million people, isn’t large; for comparison, Beijing’s population is more than double that at around 21.7 million people . + Portuguese Renewable Energy Association Via Reuters and IFLScience Images via Depositphotos and Wikimedia Commons

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104% of Portugal’s electricity consumption in March came from renewable energy

Ephemeral timber pavilion doubles as sculpture and film venue in Portugal

February 21, 2018 by  
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This elegant ephemeral pavilion does double duty as a film venue and sculpture that complements the garden grounds of Portugal’s Serralves Museum. Porto-based Diogo Aguiar Studio designed the architectural object, which is made up of curved timber partitions that come together to form two concentric spaces: the main film viewing area and the interstitial space. Diogo Aguiar Studio was selected to design the pavilion, which formed one of Serralves Museum’s five temporary structures for the architectural exhibition Live Uncertainty, 32nd Bienal de São Paulo that concluded this Sunday, February 18. Like depA’s pavilion design for Serralves, Diogo Aguiar Studio’s contribution is a minimalist affair and its all-timber cladding complements rather than detracts from the wooded surroundings. The pavilion nucleus is a dark space where the film “Os humores artificiais” (2016) by Gabriel Abrantes is shown. The addition of a secondary curved skin helps control the amount of daylight that reaches the interior and adds a sense of mystery: the three openings on the outer facade do not match up with those in the antechamber and force visitors to walk along a mulch pathway. The journey through the pavilion to watch the film thus becomes an experience in itself. Related: Mirrored pavilion all but disappears into nature As the architects put it: “Contributing to the control of natural light in the interior space, the juxtaposition of two façade-plans, curved and parallel, which alternately open double-curved arc spans, guides the visitor to walk through the immersive space of mediation – as an antechamber-path – without revealing the central nucleus – as a space-enclosed – the projection place.” + Diogo Aguiar Studio Via ArchDaily Images © 2017 Francisco Nogueira Architectural Photography

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Ephemeral timber pavilion doubles as sculpture and film venue in Portugal

Aging Portuguese granary transformed into a serene sanctuary in the trees

January 29, 2018 by  
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The Dovecote-Granary in Portugal is a temple in the trees where people can reconnect with nature and themselves. The simple structure stands on the granite foundation of what was once a 19th-century maize granary. Tiago do Vale Arquitectos took cues from traditional local architecture while reconstructing the rotting building as a place of serenity and contemplation. The structure combines three vernacular typologies: granary, dovecote, and drying shed. It is built out of oak wood in the same style as the granaries that stood there for centuries. Sadly, the wood of the granaries had rotted beyond salvage, so the architects documented the existing structure and re-constructed it out of fresh wood. By documenting the original building in its entirety, as well as the building techniques used in its construction, the architects managed to successfully re-create the building stronger than it was originally, while preserving its spirit and giving it new life. Related: Salima Naji’s Preservation of Sacred Moroccan Granary Sites Nominated for Aga Khan Award With farming disappearing from the area, the original function of the structure became obsolete. This prompted its current use as a kind of temple, a sanctuary among the tree canopies, and an iconic shape in the rural landscape of the Minho region. The architects reconstructed the two granaries on the original foundation to act as the walls of the new building and topped them with a dovecote, while the interior re-creates the traditional drying shed. + Tiago do Vale Arquitectos Via ArchDaily Photos by João Morgado

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Aging Portuguese granary transformed into a serene sanctuary in the trees

Y-shaped German hostel looks at sustainability from all angles

January 29, 2018 by  
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A newly opened youth hostel in Bayreuth, Germany offers much more than just a clean bed and shower—the 180-bed Y-shaped building embraces community, holistic sustainability, and a passion for sports. Laboratory for Visionary Architecture (LAVA) designed the hostel as an extension of the landscape with natural materials and a curvaceous form that’s organic and contemporary. Commissioned by DJH Bayern, the eye-catching youth hostel takes on a distinctive Y shape chosen “because it cleverly generates a connective central space and interweaves the interior and exterior spaces, offering expansive views and multiple accessible openings to the sports fields and gardens.” Sports are a major focus of the design and the hostel is equipped with sports fields, adventure playgrounds and volleyball terraces. The building’s universal design makes it accessible to all kinds of users for optimum use of the facility. Related: Nha Trang’s first hostel built from recycled shipping containers pops up in Vietnam A central atrium at the heart of the hostel serves as the social hub with a light-filled amphitheater that branches out to the reception, seminar rooms, bistro, kitchen, sport facilities, and bedrooms spread out across two floors. Natural, locally sourced materials are used throughout and were built with local techniques. Renewable energy powers the hostel and pollution reduction is integrated in the design. A highly flexible modular wooden wall system with modular custom built-in furniture was used for the hostel’s 45 rooms. The use of modular, replaceable walls also allows for future reuse of the building as a kindergarten, school or retirement home. + Laboratory for Visionary Architecture Images by HN?fele Huber

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This tent-shaped chapel in Portugal is in tune with nature

January 18, 2018 by  
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This open and inviting tent-shaped chapel by Plano Humano Arquitectos was designed to take full advantage of the majestic views and natural surroundings of Idanha-a-Nova, Portugal. The chapel is a new addition to the National Scout’s Activities Camp (CNAE), and its doors are open to anyone looking for shelter or a space for contemplation and introspection. The chapel, dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima, takes the form of a large tent . The gable roof is lower and narrower at the entrance and it stretches forward and upward towards the rear of the chapel. Related: Modern chapel makes a powerful but minimalist statement in the Austrian countryside The design of the building is aligned with the spirit of communion with nature. Both early morning and late afternoon sunlight illuminate the interior to sustain visitors’ engagement with the space. In fall and winter, the light emphasizes the tranquility of the place and the unadorned symbiosis between building and landscape. A water channel runs through the space on a path that winds past the altar – the central place of any Christian celebratory space – and then into the landscape, directing the user to the cross, which is located outside the chapel. Twelve wooden beams – a reference to the 12 Apostles of the Bible – aims to translate the Biblical numerical symbolism into simple forms, construction principles, and natural building materials . +Plano Humano Arquitectos Photos by João Morgado

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This tent-shaped chapel in Portugal is in tune with nature

This breathtaking new street art is made entirely out of trash

November 20, 2017 by  
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Portuguese street artist Artur Bordalo, known by the moniker Bordalo II , is showing off some bold new street art in an abandoned Lisbon warehouse. Bordalo drwas attention to wastefulness by creating massive vibrant animals out of discarded plastic , car parts, and other trash – and the whimsical designs are unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Garbage is given new life as colorful animal sculptures in Bordalo II’s solo exhibition Attero – the Latin word for ‘waste.’ The trash is locally sourced, according to Colossal , and might come from old cars, construction materials, or whatever else the artist happens to find. He often transforms the detritus into animals because they are particularly vulnerable to harm from our society which too often throws items away, polluting the environment. Related: Street artist turns trash into incredible wild animal sculptures Attero calls us to reflect on our own consumption, according to Lara Seixo Rodrigues, founder of nonprofit arts organization Mistaker Maker , which curated Attero. She told Colossal, “Whether on a large or small scale, his unusual sculptural creations oblige us to question and rethink our own role as actors in this static, consumerist, and self-destructive society, which exploits, often in an abusive way, the resources that nature offers us.” Bordalo II echoes these ideas in his Facebook biography , saying he belongs “to a generation that is extremely consumerist, materialist, and greedy.” The artist, who was born in 1987, revitalizes end-of-life materials discarded by others to create his pieces. Bordalo II’s sculptures are often massive, sprawling across building walls. While those large, attention-grabbing pieces are certainly part of Attero, the exhibition also includes smaller pieces on old doors, windowpanes, or siding. Around 8,000 people visited the show during its first week. Attero is on through November 26 at Rua de Xabregas 49, 1900-439 Beato, Lisbon. Bordalo II’s website says entry into the show is free. If you can’t make it to Lisbon, check out more of Bordalo II’s pieces on Facebook and Instagram . + Bordalo II Via Colossal Images via Bordalo II Facebook and Mistaker Maker Facebook

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This breathtaking new street art is made entirely out of trash

Long Story Short hostel is a modern escape tucked into a historical building in Moravia

November 16, 2017 by  
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A 17th century brick building in the historical capital city of Moravia, Czech Republic , now houses a gorgeous hostel that preserves the story of the place. Named Long Story Short, the hostel infuses the original building with a contemporary feel and combines raw materials with vintage furniture. Prague-based Denisa Strmiskova Studio renovated the building by highlighting its history, while enriching it with contemporary design. The horseshoe-shaped building sits in the historical center of Olomouc, the ecclesiastical metropolis and historical capital city of Moravia. The architects’ main idea was to create the whole concept of the hostel from scratch, including all its equipment and visual layout. Related: Almáa Sintra Hostel Is An Idyllic Eco-Retreat on a Historic 12th Site in Portugal An organically arched hall , which leads from the reception to all the rooms, is different from every perspective and surprises you constantly when walking through. The team enhanced this shape with sophisticated use of light, black details and pastels that contrast the pure white plastering. Most of the furnishing, including beds, mirrors, lamps, shelves and bathroom equipment, was custom-made in cooperation with local producers and craftsmen . The architects collaborated with Miroslav Bedná? from Prague’s shop Retroobjects in selecting turn-of-the-century modernist designs . Some parts of the hostel are also decorated by original works by Czech artist David Mina?ík. + Denisa Strmiskova Studio Via The Spaces Photos by Josef Kubicek

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Long Story Short hostel is a modern escape tucked into a historical building in Moravia

Swytch is revolutionizing the e-bike conversion system

November 16, 2017 by  
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Wheels like the GeoOrbital and Copenhagen Wheel will turn your standard bike into an electric one, but their weight can make it impossible to pedal far in non-electric mode. That’s why we’re so into the new Swytch eBike conversion kit. Swytch puts the electronics and battery on your handlebar, leaving your wheel light and easy to pedal, even when you aren’t in e-bike mode. Electric wheel conversion kits are heavy because they have to carry the battery, motor and electronics all within in the wheel structure. That makes it difficult to pedal when you aren’t using the electric assist. But Swytch claims to eliminate that problem by putting the battery and electronics in a pack that attaches to your handlebars, leaving just the motor on the wheel. That makes it so you can leave the wheel on full-time and still use the bike in non- e-bike mode. The pack can also be mounted in a few seconds (after the initial installation), so you can switch back and forth as needed. More: Swap-in wheel converts any bike into an electric within 60 seconds The pack also includes a light to improve visibility, and riders can control the amount of electric assistance and check range using a control panel on the top of the pack. It also weighs in at a scant 8.6 pounds (10.6 if you choose the larger battery). That’s half of the weight of the electric wheels out there, which typically weigh around 20 pounds. It’s also more versatile, fitting on any size wheel. That means you can now electrify your Penny-farthing, Kickbike or recumbent bike. The small battery has a 25-mile range, while the larger one can take you 50 miles. If you want to snatch up a Swytch, they are running and Indiegogo campaign (which has already surpassed its goal). You can get a kit for $299 right now, over half off the retail price of $650. That’s cheaper than other wheels, which sit in the $1,000 – $1,500 range. + Swytch Indiegogo Via New Atlas

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Swytch is revolutionizing the e-bike conversion system

This swanky desert guesthouse was fashioned out of a former horse barn

November 9, 2017 by  
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This stunning modernist guest home bears little similarity to its previous form: an old concrete barn for horses. Design-build firm The Construction Zone led the adaptive reuse project, the Barn Guest House, transforming the old horse stalls into room dividers. Full-height north-facing glass gives the guesthouse an indoor-outdoor character that embraces a desert garden In Phoenix. Topped with a flat overhanging roof, the 750-square-foot guest home contains a master suite, kitchen, and living area separated by concrete walls. Timber, seen in the Douglas fir -clad roof and furnishings and cabinetry, imbue the home with much needed warmth in a predominately cool-toned palette of concrete, glass, and black steel. Related: Atelier Data Transforms an Old Horse Stable into a Simple but Stunning Home in Portugal The interior decor is kept minimal to maintain the home’s sense of lightness in the landscape, while a few pops of red hues and natural timber tones break up the gray color scheme. The Barn Guest House looks out over an outdoor entertaining patio , bocce ball court, jacuzzi, and cacti-studded gardens. + The Construction Zone Via Dezeen Images by Bill Timmerman

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This swanky desert guesthouse was fashioned out of a former horse barn

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

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