When Branco Cavaleiro Architects was asked to develop a plan to house the High Performance Surfing Center in Cabedelo, Viana do Castelo, Portugal, the designers chose to incorporate protections for visitors as well as the surrounding landscape.

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cork building surrounded by trees

The High Performance Surfing Center was designed with sustainable construction in mind. This idea was reflected in the selection of green building materials and choice to reduce energy consumption. Situated on a dune system within a grove of pine trees, the Surfing Center needed to respect the natural environment. For minimal site impact, architects designed the building to perch over the dunes through the use of pillars. Similarly, they worked around the pine trees, allowing the trees to remain untouched.

Related: Eco hotel and golf resort boasts ocean views in Portugal

cork and glass building elevated off ground with pillars
pillars holding up a building

The campus includes dormitories, a service area and a surf training wing with a gym and showers. The different wings connect with a central patio, which leads to the beach.

white room with white tables and orange chairs
kitchen with gray island and wood cabinets

The love for the surrounding nature is seen throughout the buildings via geothermal temperature control, LED lighting with a centralized management system for optimal efficiency and cladding in agglomerated black cork, which surrounds the whole building, including the roof. Designers kept sustainability in mind with the use of the cork, a local natural material in Portugal. The architects said, “Cork is a 100% natural, recyclable, non-toxic and durable material. In the process of manufacturing cork products, 100% of the material’s resources are used, in which production waste is reused again for cork agglomerates.” They explained that cork is “associated with behavior as a barrier against soil desertification, as it provides micro-ecosystems with high biodiversity, as well as contributing to the fixation of CO2.”

round white chairs beside a glass wall
round white chairs on patio

The building’s tight envelope and thermal enhancements provide a high level of energy efficiency. Vast windows allow views, but the glazing minimizes heat transfer. Windows on the south side have a higher solar factor, while those facing north have a lower solar factor.

+ Branco Cavaleiro Architects

Via ArchDaily

Photography by José Campos via Branco Cavaleiro Architects

cork-clad building at dusk