Guided design – Brazilian savanna

Casa Cavalcante sits in the middle of 266 hectares of land, adjacent to the Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park in Brazil, which houses one of the most important biomes in the world: the Cerrado (Brazilian savanna). Therefore, the intention to minimise the impact of the building on its surroundings guided the entire design process. Another obstacles encountered by BLOCO architects was the limited qualified skilled local labor, the enormous difficulty in accessing the land, the extremely hot climate in the region, and the limited budget for construction, which all became factors that defined its shape and materiality.
The construction process was instigated in two stages. First the prefabricated elements remotely and assembled at the construction site, while the second used mostly local handmade labor. All rooms have natural lighting and ventilation. Long-stay places bedrooms, kitchen, and living room, also have constant cross ventilation and are protected from direct sunlight by the brise-soleil created with natural eucalyptus logs. In addition to being insect repellent, eucalyptus is an easy-to-grow tree.
The house is raised from the ground for two reasons: to prevent creeping animals from dropping in and to protect the adobe walls of water in seasons with high rainfall. Located in place where natural fires occur regularly, any building needs the ‘aceiro’, a kind of open area with suppression of cover and small tree species. The absence of plants around the house is a part of the fire protection strategy. All electrical energy in the house is photovoltaic. It is produced through an “off-grid” system with solar panels located away from the home.

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