Cerrado House

Cerrado House site plan
At dusk
The Cerrado landscape
Closed louvers facing north
Closed louvers facing north and west
Cerrado House floor plan
Main façade
Cerrado House pool terrace
Under the swimming pool tip
Right under the swimming pool
The terrace, the pool and the Sierra in the background
Stairs leading to the terrace

Primary Author

  • Vazio S/A

Contributing Authors

  • Leonardo Augusto Rodrigues (Associate architect)
  • Daila Coutinho Araujo (Associate architect)
  • Frederico Almeida (Architecture intern)

Author

  • Carlos M. Teixeira

Photographers

  • Gabriel Castro

Objectives

Cerrado House was built at the foothills of Sierra da Moeda, a mountain range in the state of Minas Gerais. The three-bedroom house is a rooftop pool and a wide staircase that leads to the rooftop terrace. The rooms are right under the swimming pool and have views to the sierra, the Cerrado and its twisted trees; the north and west inclement sun being protected by wooden louvers. The play between function and form here is spontaneous and undogmatic: the ranks and stairs of the swimming pool are stamped irrepressibly onto the façades and conform internal space. The employment of the programmatic source is directly made manifest: it is a generative strategy that explores the program/form relationship as an absolute and inevitable correspondence.

Context

The Cerrado is one of the seven biomes of Brazil and has an area of 1.5 million km². It covers about a third of the Brazilian biodiversity, 5% of the world flora and fauna, and it is where are located the sources of the three largest hydrographic basins in the country (Amazon, São Francisco, and Paraná/ Paraguay). It has a unique flora and is characterized for having spaced trees and shrubs coexisting amid a ground cover, featuring a South American variation of the African savannah and the European steppe. For its ecological, geopolitical and cultural characteristics, the Cerrado is considered the biome of national integration. The soils of the Cerrado were once regarded as too acidic to grow crops. But since agronomists began applying industrial quantities of lime in the 1980s, these soils have been transformed. The Cerrado now produces 70% of Brazil’s farm output. In recent years, the rate of ecological destruction in the Cerrado has been twice that in the Amazon. And while the majority of the Amazon rainforest survives, more than 60% of the Cerrado’s former 200 million hectares has disappeared under the plow, mostly within the last two decades. It has been a black hole for conservation: only 2% of the ecosystem is protected. However, Brazilian agriculturalists and ministers still talk as if it had no conservation value at all.

Performance

Seeking the plasticity of basic architectural elements, the project also exalts this underestimated and threatened biome: the Cerrado. There is no landscape design: the house sits on a found landscape, whose immensity and vistas are best seen on the pool terrace.

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Cerrado House site plan