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.
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.
Images © Francisco Nogueira