2022

MCHAP

PALICOUREA HOUSE

BLOCO ARQUITETOS

VILA DE SÃO JORGE, Brazil

June 2021

PRIMARY AUTHOR

MATHEUS CONQUE SECO FERREIRA

CONTRIBUTING AUTHOR

DANIEL MANGABEIRA DA VINHA, HENRIQUE COUTINHO, MARIANA SIQUEIRA, GIOVANNI CRISTOFARO

CLIENT

MARCOS TADEU SIQUEIRA

PHOTOGRAPHER

JOANA FRANÇA

OBJECTIVE

The internal spaces of the buildings were placed at different levels and adapted to the existing topography, slightly suspended from the ground to prevent the entry of small wild animals, to minimize land movement and to preserve as much of the existing trees and herbaceous vegetation as possible. The structural system of both buildings is composed of two parts that were built independently: the exposed concrete structure and solid brick walls – the “core”- and the glued laminated reforestation wood (Glulam) roof. The aim was to combine local labor and traditional building materials with a large lightweight structure, remotely prefabricated and assembled on site. The two parts of each of the buildings are structurally independent so that it was not necessary to obtain a high level of precision to obtain the perfect “fit” between them. Both structures are connected through big, fixed glass panels that are part of the windows and doors of the house´s living room and the studio´s working space. For this reason, it was essential that the complete stability of the wooden structure was guaranteed. Therefore, the structure rests on triangular foundation blocks where the pillars and their stabilization tie-rods are anchored. These blocks also receive rainwater from the gutters. The Cerrado is limited to two dominant seasons throughout the year: wet and dry. The idea is to use the harvested rainwater to minimize the impact from use of water from the public supply system throughout the year, mainly during the dry season.

CONTEXT

The Palicourea House is located in a rural area in the village of São Jorge, close to the limits of Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park, inserted in the country’s second-largest biome, the Cerrado, which covers nearly a quarter of Brazil´s territory. It is the world’s most biodiverse tropical savanna. The Cerrado is also known as “the cradle” of Brazil's water resources because the waters that originate there feed many aquifers and continental rivers, besides reservoirs in the country´s capital Brasília (Federal District) and in many states in Brazil. Unfortunately, however, this important biome is currently threatened by the growth of the country´s agribusiness. At the same time, most cities and villages located in the heart of the Cerrado Region don´t deal properly with the preservation its native vegetation. Moreover, there is a general lack of awareness about the nature and the importance of this biome.
The Palicourea House consists of two buildings: a house and a small studio. One of the family members is a landscape architect who works with native species from the Cerrado, aiming for the preservation and recovery of species from the region’s biome. The studio is her home office and it will also host artistic and educational activities related to her work. Thus, project is an experiment about a way to inhabit the region, considering the specificities of its construction and program as one of the possibilities for a sustainable and positive coexistence between humans and nature.

PERFORMANCE

The bedroom, home office and bathroom areas were treated as “extended stay areas” and were covered with solid concrete slabs that delimit “air mattresses” between them and the wooden roof. This area is also an open and naturally ventilated space that promotes greater thermal comfort for the internal spaces right below them, also providing space for the distribution of installations. The social living spaces, such as the living room of the house and the studio lounge, are equipped with large, glazed areas, sliding window frames, bug screens and wooden sliding louvers that allow for constant natural ventilation and light. Therefore, these spaces are also the only internal rooms where the wooden roof is also the indoor ceiling. The buildings are equipped with “E.S.S.” photovoltaic energy systems, which means that it works as an “off grid” system that is also connected to the supply network. The roofs ‘surfaces are interrupted by lines of gutters to collect rainwater. This water is filtered and stored in small tanks at the lowest points of the lot to be periodically pumped to a reservoir that is located at the highest point of the lot. The Cerrado is limited to two dominant seasons throughout the year, wet and dry. Therefore, the idea is to use rainwater minimize the use of water from the public supply system throughout the year, mainly during the dry season. Sewage from sanitary basins and kitchen sinks is processed and treated in underground eco-stubs before passing to the soil infiltration tanks.