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Brazilian Campinarana House created by Laurent Troost Architectures with the need for climate protection in mind

By • Aug 29, 2019

On a beautifully green plot of land in Manaus, Brazil, a stunning, almost treehouse-like residence was recently completed by innovative teams at Laurent Troost Architectures, dubbing it Campinarana House!

Building a home in the Amazon’s surrounding area comes with its own unique set of challenges. Firstly, it is absolutely necessary for environmental protection and climate change purposes that architects and building teams use low impact strategies in the construction processes in order to protect the crucially important natural landscapes around the plots they’re working on.

Additionally, the actual local climate present in places like Brazil, and Manaus specifically, makes it important for design teams to account for the possibility of extreme weather conditions, since the whole area sits in an equatorial zone. Impressively, the teams working on Campinarana House achieved both of these goals and prioritized all of the needs covered by these challenges!

Throughout the house, the architectural practices and building techniques used and featured are all ones geared towards effective thermal comfort and passive (and therefore “green”) sustainability. Campinarana House is built from an unique and cutting edge combination of protective eaves, cross-ventilation openings, and preservation mechanisms for the local ecological systems surrounding the house itself.

In fact, the entire house was actually inspired by, and not just named after, local environmental elements. Campinarana is actually a type of small tree found in the Amazon, known for growing in shallow, clay-like soil. The concept of preserving these trees and the soil they thrive in was central to the whole design of this housing project!

The minimization of deforestation required by building this project was absolutely paramount to both the design teams and the owners. Instead, they wanted to preserve as much of the surrounding forest as they possibly could. This is partially what determined the shape and layout of the house; designers wanted to build between, around, above, and through the trees rather than clearing them out to build in the space where they once stood. The effect was that they aimed to work with the space that was naturally provided rather than making any new space.

In practice, this resulted in a sort of “layout flip” to what’s typical, or a reversal of more classic housing typologies. Within the 20 x 40 square metre plot, the house grows upwards into the trees, rather than outwards through their trunks and roots. The private and sleeping rooms, which are more typically put upstairs, are located on the ground floor, while the shared living spaces, outdoor seating areas, kitchen, and swimming pool are all located on the upper deck, where they could be created a little more spaciously without interrupting the natural and crucial landscape.

The house, which exists as two distinct but cohesive volumes, was strategically divided to harness the power of natural heating and cooler powers offered by the climate it exists in. For example, the top portion of the house was purposely built to house functions that benefit from sun exposure, like the pool, the entryway, and the laundry. The lower volume, however, was built as a refuge for those places that would do better with protection from harsh sunlight. This keeps the bedrooms, for example, cooler, quieter, and more private.

Effective cross-ventilation is also essential to the passive heating and cooling systems of the house. This accounts for the strategic placement of closed and open-air spaces on the top level, as well as the presence of large windows or glass walls and how they move on the lower floor. This keeps thermal elements of the house under control, which in turn keeps the house as a whole very low in its energy consumption levels, and therefore enables it to have a lower impact on the environment.

The decor scheme of the house is simple, natural, and clean. Glass is used heavily in order to create a visual blending of indoor and outdoor spaces, letting the house exist in and around the trees in a way that feels and looks impressively seamless. Polished concrete, black marble, and wood make up most of the rest of the home’s natural materiality. Decor is quite minimalist, but not in a way that feels cold or under done. Instead, it lets the lush greenery right outside the glass walls feel like a part of the home and take centre stage in establishing the colours and aesthetics of the home’s experience.

Photos by Maira Acayaba

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