Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thinking Big with Arrebita!

Olá readers!

Last week was a beautiful one. The sun was shining and team 7 was reviewing the applications of the future team members. Even though we received a lot of applications, we enjoyed reading each and every single one of them. In the end we were pleased with all of them and we’re moving further on with the selection. More on that in the days to come!

After a while we decided to get creative and ‘’think big’’. So on Thursday morning we were greeted by Edite Amorim, positive psychologist working for Thinking Big, who moved the furniture around in order to create a different space for the workshop that was about to begin. In the beginning we were a bit confused and didn’t know what to expect from this workshop, but at some point it got interesting and, in the end, it was funny and practical. Let’s put it like this: we revealed our deepest desires in terms of what we want from Arrebita!Porto in the month to come; we tried to come up with the best qualities that we find in our team members only to try and discuss them later on in groups of two; we brainstormed on the "have" and "have not" qualities for the future team; and last but not least we ate some so-called Hungarian cookies, which ran out quite fast

Our blackboard put to use
Social skills matter in Arrebita

There were a lot of activities involved but the one we enjoyed the most was the one where we had to change our place with the person that had the same ‘’secret word’’ - coffee, chocolate or tea. We had to pay attention at what Edite had for breakfast in order to keep a chair. We played this game just to get a bit warm but, in the end, it turned out to be the funniest of them all. We are laughing like little children!...

We had a lot of fun with some of the activities
It was a good opportunity to get to know each other better

In the game of sticking post-its on each others back, all of us got really surprised by some assumptions that were made. I think it’s easier if I give you some examples:
     ‘’Jose likes to sing’’
     ‘’Alexandra is mysterious’’
     ‘’Filippo likes to play the drums’’
     ‘’Leo likes to scream’’
     ‘’Margarida is sugar’’
     ‘’Philippe is funny’’
     ‘’Daniel is clean’’
     ‘’Rita likes to paint’’
Even now when writing them down, the assumptions are really funny and surprising.

We found out more about ourselves and a lot more of what we want in this last month in Porto. So, thank you Edite for a wonderful workshop and giving us the opportunity to express ourselves freely. Also thank you for the well-deserved break from the daily routine.

On the construction site things are progressing quite fast. The roof is more than 3 quarters done; the only part that’s missing is the one on East side. In order to finish that part, we need to cover the outside wall of the adjacent building with corrugated metal sheets. We have the two skylights already installed and we are getting ready for the future works.

A general view of the top floor in Rua da Reboleira No.42
The big skylight is now in place
The timber and metal structure of the roof in full view
The east slope of the roof and the neighbour's wall that needs to be waterproofed
The tiles keep being added to the roof

In the meanwhile, back at the office, we have been working on a new assemblage concept for the A!Box. The team has to come together once again to finish this task, as it is running since the day that the first team started thinking about it. We are feeling optimistic about this new concept because it simplifies the production and assemblage process, while also introducing customized options for the buyer/user.

The A!Box is a work in progress

As a part of our agreement with the very experimented carpenter João Pacheco, a personal facebook page is about to be born. We have also been talking about taking advantage of his expertise in order to build a 1:20 presentation model of our building.

João Pacheco visited the team on the construction site

So this is it for the past week. We will get back to you as soon as possible. Until then, Arrebita!

Monday, November 18, 2013

The 360° Experience

Hello! Team 7 is once again here to tell you everything that has been happening in Arrebita!Porto.

First things first: do you like the new design of our blog? We’ve made quite a few changes, so let us hear your feedback.

Under radiant sunny weather, the construction works on site progressed quite fast last week. The secondary metal structure for the roof was put in place; then, the workers started to fit in the thermal insulation panels on the west and north sides; the small skylight for the staircase was installed; and, finally, the first roof tiles were laid down. João Morgado, our media partner for photography, did not want to miss out on the construction progress and visited the site on Wednesday to document the works. 

There is still a lot to do, of course, but the work done during this past week already represents a huge step forward. We feel privileged to see a new part/element of the roof added before our eyes every single day.

The roof structure is made out of timber and metal profiles
A worker reparing a metal profile to be placed in the roof structure
The staircase skylight embedded in the thermal insulation
It's all about teamwork
The tiles by Telhas Cobert being put in place 
João Morgado doing his job

Also on Wednesday, Carlos Rebelo – from our new partner 3Decide – was on site to take a 360º view of the building. In the future, we will develop an interactive tool with 3Decide that will allow anyone to visualize the project and compare the “before” and “after” situation.  

Carlos Rebelo preparing the setting for the 360º view

In the meanwhile, back at the office, we had some national and international visitors, interested in learning more about Arrebita!Porto.

On Monday, we were visited by a group of architecture students from the University of East London. José Paixão made an informal presentation in the office before we took them to visit the building in Rua da Reboleira, divided in groups of five people. Team 7 has already conquered any fear of heights we might have had before this experience but the same cannot be said for our visitors. Everyone was excited to visit the site and climb up the ladder to the last floor; the problem for some was coming back down… Thankfully, Mr. Joaquim was there to help and everything turned out fine. We met the group again on Friday evening to have dinner after their project review.

The East London students waiting before visiting the building
Are YOU afraid of heights?

On Tuesday, we had a meeting with a committee set up by the President of Portugal to research social entrepreneurship in the country. The group included a personal adviser to the President, the Director of the North section of the Portuguese Association of Young Entrepreneurs (ANJE) and the Director of Eslider Portugal organization. The meeting was complemented with a visit to the site, where the committee fully appreciated the importance of the project.

José Paixão explaining Arrebita!Porto to the research committee

Finally, on Thursday morning, we had yet another visit by an international school of architecture – this time, École Supérieure d'Architecture Paris-Malaquais. Since there was no way that we could fit 90 students in our small office, we requested the auditorium at Casa do Infante to make a general presentation of the project. Afterwards, we escorted the group through a small tour of the historical centre of Porto, including the building in Rua da Reboleira and our own headquarters in Largo do Duque da Ribeira.

The group from Malaquais in front of our office

As you can see, our time here at Arrebita! has been what may be called a "360º experience": every week, we get to do so many different things, it's like taking part in an intensive drill on all aspects concerning a social initiative/architectural project.   

Unfortunately, we cannot help but feel that we are starting to approach the end of our stay: one of our main tasks for this week will be to review the applicants for Team 8. On the bright side, however, we still have one more month to go; and we expect to bring you some news on the A!box very soon. 

Until then, Arrebita!Porto

Monday, November 11, 2013

Getting down to the nuts and bolts

Hello again from Arrebita Team 7!

Last week was all about the construction works on site.

On Wednesday morning, we had a big meeting on site to assess the progress of the construction works and discuss any problems that might have arisen in the meanwhile. There were almost 15 people on No. 42 top floor: our engineering coordinators, Rita and Daniel; the Topdomus workers and engineers; Eng. Fernando Pisoeiro of Telhas Cobert, to make a demonstration of the construction system for the roof; Mr. José Castro, the plumber; and, of course, Team 7, eagerly following the discussion.

Wednesday's meeting on site
Eng. Rita Ferreira explaining a solution
Eng. Fernando Pisoeiro making a demonstration

After the meeting, we went back to the office to review the project according to the new circumstances – the truth is that, even though the project is ‘done’, there is always something that needs to be reviewed or updated in accordance to what’s happening on site.

The next day, some of us were again back on site to run some errands for the construction workers. In spite of the language barrier, Mr. Joaquim Manuel, the overseer, managed to convey to Filippo, Alexandra and Philippe that he needed nuts and bolts.

Mr. Joaquim, Philippe and Alexandra getting down to the nuts and bolts

The new gutters are now put in place and the workers have already started to lay down the structure that will support the roof tiles.

The workers putting the gutters in place

Here in Portugal there is something called “Verão de S. Martinho” – St. Martin’s Summer. It is said that, around the 11th of November (St. Martin’s day), there are always some sunny days. For this year, at least, the legend seems to hold true: we are beginning the new week under splendid weather. We hope the sun will keep shining for a few more days, since it would allow the construction works on the roof to move forward quickly.

Time flies by and we are already past half of our stay here in Porto. Applications for Team 8 are already open – if you are interested in taking part in Arrebita from January on, don’t forget to apply until the 17th of November. You can find all the information on our website: www.arrebita.org.

Until next time... and Arrebita!Porto.


Friday, November 1, 2013

Concreta, Carpentry and Chocolates

All the time and hardwork put into preparing Arrebita’s stand for Concreta paid off: the exhibition allowed us a unique opportunity to promote the project not only amongst construction companies but also with the general public. Indeed, the four days we spent in Exponor proved to be as intensive as the preparation tasks, with little idle time left in between talking with all the visitors. We were excited to verify that many people had, by now, at least heard the name “Arrebita”; and it was a true pleasure to testify their curiosity about the project.

We established new contacts with some promising companies, while also promoting the partners already attached to the project. It was a great networking experience – and the fact is that Arrebita is, in essence, a network: a network made out of many partners, all working together to revitalise the historical centre of Porto.
Our stand in Concreta, full of visitors

In view of the long hours dedicated to Concreta, we got Monday and Tuesday off. However, this “shortened” week still brought us plenty of things to do.

First, we tried to put up the Concreta canvas in the walls of Arrebita’s storage room – all ten meters of it! We had to shorten its height in order for it to fit but, since we did not want permanently damage it, we ended up by having to fold, iron and tape the bottom 40cm. We then taped the whole canvas to the wall and hoped for the best. Unfortunately, and in spite of all our efforts, by the next morning it had already fallen off the wall… Perhaps we’ll give it another try next week!

Ironing a ten meter canvas - quite a challenge, no?

Meanwhile, on the construction site, the wood structure for the roof was finally built up. In fact, and after some unexpected delays, this task was completed in a single afternoon by our carpenters. Now that the works are picking up speed, we hope to start laying down the roof tiles by the end of next week.

The wood structure for the roof is up!

Finally, this Friday morning, we also got a very special visit from a Dutch committee interested in understanding the mission and operational model of Arrebita. Our visitors work for the Ministry of Environment and Infrastructure in the Netherlands and their task is to research the causes of the decline of population in city centres. Instead of a presentation, we had an informal conversation in the office before taking them to visit our building in Rua da Reboleira.

Meeting the Dutch delegation at the office

While Rita was leading the Dutch committee in a guided tour to the building site, we casually started talking with a tourist family that was passing by. Once Alexandra realised they were from Sweden, she immediately took up the chance to put her Swedish language skills into practice. Coincidently, the father was an architect, so he was quite excited to hear about the project and visit the site.

We said goodbye to our new international acquaintances – both Dutch and Swedish – and we headed back to the office for a meeting with our engineering and architectural coordinators. We have our work set out for next week: reviewing some technical issues of the project, changing the groundfloor structure from metal to wood, and taking care of everything else that will eventually come up. On the bright side, we now have something to help keep our spirits up – delicious chocolate offered by the Dutch delegation:

A nice detail from the Dutch: the chocolate boxes spell out "Obrigado" 

Keep up with our daily news on Facebook. Cheers and Arrebita! Porto.