More than just a place to live in, the client wanted a house that would integrate the family. She wanted a house where she would be able to enjoy the company of her friends. Brazil-based firm MMEB Architects was chosen to make that ideal house come true. The result is a residential building that takes full advantage of the natural resources of the city of Cuiaba, situated in the mid-west of Brazil.
Blending traditional characteristics of local old-style houses with modern technology, the house, designed by architects Marcia Miranda and Eder Bispo, is eco-friendly using solar heating and a system of water reuse. The house was designed to promote balanced integration between its residents, visitors and the environment.
The plan of the house also differentiates it from other buildings in the region because it contemplates social instead of private areas. As opposed to the current trend of treating each room as a private island, the residence promotes collectiveness, treating the patio as the special part of the house. Shaped in an L format around the courtyard, all the rooms of the building face the social area so that the family will be in constant interaction. Bispo explains that this format was the translation of what Santos described as her ideal house into the actual building. Besides creating a pleasant social area the non-traditional plan of the building also protects it from direct sunlight and provides more privacy for the family.
Built in an area of three thousand square feet, the building has a total area of one thousand, seven hundred and forty two square feet divided in three floors. The qualities borrowed from the old-style houses of Cuiaba, such as large windows, a balcony and a double height ceiling were used because of the high, year-round, average temperatures in the city ranging from 30 to 35 Celsius degrees (86 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit). These characteristics allow a natural flow of light and air, keeping the house illuminated and well-ventilated with minimum energy use.
Designed for a family of three people, the project challenged the architects to translate the conversations they had with Santos into the design of the building. The house was the result of lengthy discussion and conversation. It needed to satisfy the physical needs of the family as well as the way they wanted to live. “According to Bispo, they “consider mostly the way the person interacts with others and the environment.” Miranda continued saying that the projects MMEB Architects create go beyond the physical distribution of area. This house illustrates well our philosophy.”
About the project:
The house was developed in an L shape around the courtyard, the structuring element of the project. The intention of this arrangement was to allow a better visualization of the volume of the house, as well as to protect it from direct sunlight in the afternoon, and to ensure privacy from the neighborhood.
The large projected openings allow the visual integration between the social area and the courtyard and also enable ventilation and natural lighting. In addition, the balconies of the rooms are open to the courtyard, facing the morning sun.
Concerned about the conscious use of natural resources, MMEB Architects adopts solutions to rationalize their use. In this project, the architects adopted were water reuse system, solar heating, structural features to take advantage of natural lighting and ventilation, and roof ventilation.
Despite its size, the construction of the house was guided by simplicity, with basic geometric shapes and traditional materials, such as a reinforced concrete structure and clay bricks.
The program is arranged in three floors. In the basement there is a garage and the water reuse system. The social areas, porches, recreation and laundry area are located on the ground level. Finally, the bedrooms, the study room and the TV room with a terrace occupy the superior floor.
Location: Cuiabá, BR