It is the continuous, the vast, and a thin imaginary line in the background that harbor the daily life and experience of Brazilians living in the central region of the country. The architecture proposed there could be no different. It is this amplitude, along with the beauty of its inhabitants, that moves us. However, how should a site where the current culture is blindly modernized in search of a mass-reproduced dream be dealt with? How can architecture make itself relevant in a place marked by rural and indigenous memories, techniques, aesthetics and rhythms? With these inquiries, the project which houses 540 children who study at Canuanã boarding school, aims towards transformation, cultural recovery, encouragement of local constructive techniques, native knowledge and beauty, together with the construction of a notion of self and of belonging, necessary for the children’s development.
To better understand the scale of this place inhabited by children whose point of view changes with every growing inch, and to offer a new understanding of the educational space as a place of residence as well, the A Gente Transforma methodology was applied.
It involved an intense, open collaboration with the local community – teachers, administrators and, most importantly, the children. The process underwent different stages of research, immersion and collaboration with those involved, through workshops and dynamics in which a mutual understanding of the problem and possible solutions, arising from the dialogue between contemporary technique and rich local vernacular knowledge, were sought. It became clear that there was great potential and beauty in the local building techniques that used local soil in the form of adobe brick walls, both as a solid and perforated medium. Hence, this rough organic material, which performed extremely well climatically and represented the connection between the people and place, was chosen as the proposal’s constructive and aesthetic north.
The process of continuous architectural improvement and exchange with teachers and students led to a solution envisioned as a first step for the broader organization of the site. The new configuration foresees two larger (in space and number of residents) and airier villages, one for boys and one for girls, according to the school’s required and pre-existing gender division. Each one is placed at a strategic point, no longer within the school’s central axis, which is now to be occupied solely by educational programs, but rather closer to the edges to guide the growth of the farm complex organizing the territory and thus enabling for a better spatial and functional reading of the school as a whole. In this new moment, the residences will no longer be conformed by large dormitory spaces, but rather by 45 units for six students each, comprised of bunk beds, more storage space and private washing areas. The units are then set together in groups of five, organized around three large patios filled with local savannah and tropical species.
These courtyards serve as gathering spaces and also as a means of reducing heat and controlling air humidity. A reflecting pool with small fish, located inside the central yard, collects the rain that spills from the roof and, on days with enough rainfall, returns the excess water to the Javae´s River. Adjacent and on top of the dorms are different common areas: TV rooms, reading spaces, balconies, spaces with hammocks, play areas, among others. These complementary spaces were established and developed together with the students in order to improve their overall well-being and increase their bond with the school, but also to serve as complementary educational spaces for the community outside of the school year.
A thin, white metallic roof supported by a lightweight wooden structure following a regular grid of 5,90m by 5,90m covers the villages and common spaces. Beyond protection from sun and rain, the roof and grid set create an intermediary space between exterior and interior, functioning as a large terrace that marks the vast horizon and frames the interior and exterior landscape. The decision to use glued laminated eucalyptus wood in the structural elements came from the advantage of versatile and sustainable characteristics of pre-fabricated elements, in response to the need for accelerating construction speed and minimizing hassle in the school’s functioning. Likewise, compressed earth bricks made of local soil were selected as construction material for their elimination of long-distance transportation and excellent thermal properties. The material was used as an enclosure in the form of exposed brick walls as well as brick latticework to provide ventilation and protection to the washing areas.
The brick worked technically and aesthetically, much in the way the locals have been doing for a long time. Ultimately, the design for the new villages aims to increase the children’s self-esteem, individuality, sense of belonging, environmental responsibility and overall academic performance, through the exchange with local know-how and building potential. Thus, a dialogue is created between vernacular techniques and a positive model for sustainable housing.
AUTHOR: Gustavo Utrabo, Pedro Duschenes + Rosembaum (Adriana Benguela, designer Marcelo Rosembaum)
PROJECT TEAM: Marina Oba, Ana Julia Filipe, Yuri Vasconcelos, Gabriel Tomich, Nicolie Duarte e Hyruan Minosso
CLIENT: Fundação Bradesco
WOOD STRUCTURE DESIGN, FABRICATION AND CONSTRUCTION :Ita Construtora
LANDSCAPE DESIGN:Raul Pereira Arquitetos Associados
ILLUMINATION PROJECT: Lux Projetos Luminotécnicos
STRUCTURAL FOUNDATION: Meirelles Carvalho
ACOUSTIC AND THERMAL INSULATION CONSULTING: Ambiental Consultoria
MECHANICAL AND ELECTRICAL ENGENEERING: Lutie
CONCRETE SLABS: Trima
CONSTRUCTION: Inova TS
CONSTRUCTION MANAGER: Metroll
FURNITURE DESIGN: Rosenbaum e o Fetiche
RECORD AND COMMUNICATION MATERIAL. Fabiana Zanin
SITE: Formoso do Araguaia, Tocantins – Brasil
PROJECT YEAR: 2016
BUILD YEAR: 2017
BUILD AREA: 23.344,17 m2
MATERIALITY:Wood, Mud Brick, Concrete, Metalic Seiling.
Awards and honours:
*Riba International Prize Winner 2018.
*Riba International Emerging Prize 2018.
*Finalist at Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize Emerge – IIT College of Architecture Chicago.
*Winner of the Archdaily Building of the Year category: Educational Building – 2018.
*Winner of the Archdaily Obra do ano – Best Building in Brazil – 2018.
*Winner of the Amata Ibramen wood building of the year – 2018.
*Winner of the Saint-Gobain Sustainable Prize with Children Village – 2018.
*Winner of the APCA 2017 Award (Paulista Association of Art Critics) – Category: Architecture in Brazil.
*Winner of Tomie Ohtake AkzoNobel Contemporary Architecture Prize.
Commissioned by ‘El Croquis’ publishers.
El Croquis 207 – Gustavo Utrabo
Based in São Paulo, Gustavo Utrabo was formerly part of Aleph Zero, a practice he founded in 2012 that won the 2018 RIBA International Emerging Architect prize. Now on his own, Utrabo sees his work as a means to connect people and imagine the future through sustainable and inclusive approaches. In his practice, he strives to consolidate his interests with a social impact, often engaging in remote projects for indigenous people in the Amazon. This edition presents fourteen recent works, from private houses, a public market, and a cultural centre, to shading structures and children’s villages in the jungle. Includes an interview with the architect and an essay by Marta Bogéa.
Semi-hard cover – 256 páginas
24 x 34 cm – 1 Kg