Eco-friendly guesthouse in Brazil sports a green roof and rammed earth walls

January 2, 2019 by  
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In continuation of its work on the eco-conscious Camburi community center , Sao Paulo-based architecture firm CRU! architects recently completed the Guesthouse Paraty, a sustainable social building project that provided construction jobs and training to the local community. To minimize the environmental impact of the building, the architects used natural materials sourced locally, from red earth excavated on site to the tree trunks and bamboo cut from the surrounding forest. The guesthouse was also built to follow passive solar principles to keep naturally cool in Brazil’s tropical climate. Designed with flexible usage in mind, the nearly 37-square-meter Guesthouse Paraty can be used as short-term lodging, a workspace or a play space for children. The compact, single-story building includes three beds — the bedroom consists of a double bed and a lofted single bed, while a convertible futon sofa is located in the living area. The open-plan living space also includes a small cooking area and dining table. To keep the guesthouse from feeling cramped, the architects installed expansive walls of glass that usher in daylight and frame views of the outdoors; the glazed entrance on one end of the building also opens up to a sheltered outdoor living space. Because the project location is far from the town center, the architects wanted to use materials sourced from the site. As a result, the building was constructed with rammed earth walls and topped with a green roof finished with locally sourced black earth and plant matter. The formwork used for the rammed earth walls was recycled to build the roof structure. The columns supporting the weight of the roof were built from bamboo. Further tying the building in with the site is the inclusion of the existing massive granite rock that now forms part of the bedroom wall. Related: Bamboo community center empowers the local Brazilian community The overhanging roof eaves and the green roof mitigate unwanted solar heat gain. All windows are operable and strategically positioned to optimize cross-ventilation . Insect screens were installed to protect against mosquitoes. + CRU! architects Photography by Nelson Kon via CRU! architects

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Eco-friendly guesthouse in Brazil sports a green roof and rammed earth walls

Copper-clad chapel is a beacon of unity in one of Helsinkis most multicultural districts

January 9, 2017 by  
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In the long, dark, and cold winters of Helsinki , the Suvela Chapel shines bright as a welcoming, multi-faith space for one of the most multicultural districts in the metropolitan region. Located in the Suvela neighborhood of Espoo, where roughly a third of the residents are of foreign descent, the recently completed chapel was designed by architecture firm OOPEAA to serve as a multifunctional center that a diverse community can use together regardless of religious affiliation. The striking building is entirely clad in gleaming copper to emphasize unity; the material was also selected for its durability and recyclability. Commissioned by the Espoo Parish Union, the Suvela Chapel is used jointly by the Espoo Parish Union, the Swedish Parish of Espoo, and the City of Espoo to serve a diverse community. OOPEAA was tasked to create an eye-catching building with a strong identity of its own that would be welcoming to people of varying backgrounds and flexible enough to accommodate a number of activities. “Due to the relatively long, dark, and cold winters, communal indoor spaces play an important role as places for people to gather in Finland,” writes OOPEAA. “Providing schools, libraries and churches as places where people can come together on the common ground of a shared space has deep roots in the cultural tradition of Finland. The Suvela Chapel is part of this tradition.” Related: Stunning Seashore Chapel in China appears to float at high tide Located next to a local community park, the chapel is laid out like a horseshoe that wraps around an intimate interior courtyard . In addition to its copper exterior, the building is constructed from concrete and steel, while the interiors are mostly clad in locally-sourced spruce to inject a sense of warmth. Timber is also used in the outdoor canopies and, together with the copper panels, will develop a beautiful patina over time. The different functions of the chapel are laid out on one level and include a chapel hall, belfry, offices, meeting and group work spaces, areas for children and the youth, including afternoon child care and day care, activity rooms for local community clubs, and a soup kitchen. The Suvela Chapel was awarded bronze in the American Architecture Prize 2016 and was one of four finalist candidates nominated for the Finlandia Prize in Architecture in 2016. + OOPEAA Via Dezeen Images via OOPEAA

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Copper-clad chapel is a beacon of unity in one of Helsinkis most multicultural districts

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