Our special Brazil issue takes us into the heart of the Olympics Games host country to discover some of the best architecture and design. With a focus on safety first, we bring you the story of how Brazilian architects Terra e Tuma redesigned the rotting home of 74-year-old Dona Dalva.
We speak to structural engineers in Brazil who offer ideas on how to render structures safe, stable and secure. Catch our review of the biggest furniture fair ForMobile and design weekend in Brazil. Don’t miss an interview with designer Andrei Speridiao who works on developing innovative networks of people using digital thinking.
Enjoy the variety of Brazilian treats we offer to kickstart a new design & archi year.
Regarded as a leading authority in Brazil, Yopanan Rebello has written numerous books on structural engineering during more than 40 years in the field. In 1992 he opened São Paulo’s YCON Engenharia studio, where he serves as technical director and teaches a variety of engineering and construction courses. Rebello...
What started as a simple request from a son for the reconstruction of his mother’s house in the east of São Paulo, Brazil, turned out to be one of the most celebrated architectural designs this year.
The house, called Vila Matilde, has been the haven of Dona Dalva Borges Ramos, who at 74 is one of the oldest residents in the neighborhood, for many years. Ramos faced a big challenge in 2011, when her 25-year-old house started to show decay. Her son, Marcelo Ramos Borges, explained the situation in 2011 in an interview with Conselho de Arquitetura e Urbanismo do Brasil: “It rained both inside and outside… the fragile walls seemed to be made of sand alone, only with the paint peeling on top.”
The only option for Ramos was to move out and live in an apartment or building with stairs, which was not recommended for somebody of her age. She stayed in her home until 2013, when a piece of ceiling fell on her bed, and that was the point that her son Marcelo had to step up and ask help from design agency Terra e Tuma.
Relying on the assistance of three young design professionals from the firm that includes Danilo Terra, Pedro Tuma and Fernando Sakano, the project on rebuilding the house for Ramos finally began in 2013.
ArchiExpo spoke with Danilo Terra about the house:
Dona Dalva Borges Ramos. Courtesy of Terra e Tuma
ArchiExpo: What did Mr. Borges request for the architectural plan of this structure to ensure his mother’s safety?
Danilo Terra: He made no requests. Their main concern was to build a new house, since they were living in imminent danger. The whole structure was about to fall apart. He was able to understand that he needed to count on architectural know-how to provide his mother a safe home. Surprisingly, not everyone has that kind of consciousness—unfortunately [many people think] the work of architects is a benefit available for high-class individuals.
ArchiExpo: What safety features did you include?
Danilo Terra: We concentrated on developing a comfortable and healthy environment that would be fitting for Mrs. Ramos and her son. The project has been designed to offer good natural lighting and nice fresh air circulation that can maintain the house cool on the hot days of Brazil, while being cozy in wintertime.
“Good natural lighting.” Courtesy of Terra e Tuma
The architects designed a green courtyard at the center of the house that provides light and ventilation. It also serves as an extension of the kitchen and laundry. A vegetable garden grows on top of the living room’s concrete slab ceiling, and can be covered later to accommodate future demands of the family.
ArchiExpo: What are your own thoughts behind designing a home for elderly citizens?
Danilo Terra: Vila Matilde House was not designed as a home for the elderly. Terra e Tuma does not believe in ready-made recipes or “tricks” that can create a standard that will be fit to a project “type.” The Vila Matilde House was designed to be the home of Mrs. Ramos and her son and only that. Each project that we embrace will always be treated with this uniqueness.
ArchiExpo: Did you run into construction challenges?
Danilo Terra: Timing was our biggest challenge, since we [had to] tear down and rebuild a house in the shortest possible period of time. We also had the responsibility of designing a house that would respond to this family’s needs, making the most of a small area. The old house was built too close to the neighbors’ houses, which demanded extra care when taking down the compromised building. All of that while keeping budget in mind, we are constantly committed to generating no extra costs for our clients.
Terra e Tuma took four months to carefully demolish the house, execute the foundation and reinforce retaining walls which supported neighbouring buildings. Six months following the start of masonry work, the house was complete. They chose to build load-bearing walls using concrete masonry blocks, making it possible to construct a new house quickly and cheaply.
ArchiExpo: Are you in collaboration with local organizations to construct housing for the elderly?
Danilo Terra: We are always open to new projects, although we are not currently working with any party to develop housing for the elderly. Terra e Tuma has joined forces with Diadema City government in São Paulo state and we are working in a housing project for low-income individuals, the Unicoop project.
Architecture: Terra e Tuma Arquitetos Associados
Project team: Danilo Terra, Pedro Tuma, Juliana Assali
Construction: Valdionor Andrade de Carvalho and team
Structure: Megalos Engenharia
Landscaping: Gabriella Ornaghi Arquitetura da Paisagem
Brazilian firm Masisa, one of the global leaders in MDF and MDP manufacturing, presented its latest patterns during the furniture fair ForMóbile. Renowned Brazilian architect Marcelo Rosenbaum [featured image, to the right] collaborated with Fetiche studio [featured image, to the left] to create a line of furniture...
Andrei Speridião designs connections. He moves beyond and between fabrication, technology, interactive objects and conceptual exchanges, developing innovative networks of people and things using digital thinking.
The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. The Brazilian designer was raised by a designer mother who crafted objects such as jewelry or miniatures, and an engineer father who transformed apparatuses such as a wax machine into a pewter casting machine for the miniatures. This parental combo results in his 3-D-printed jewelry project made with ABS plastic by using a CGI-faceted language.
3-D Printed Jewelry by Andrei Speridião. Photo by designer.
At age 16, Peugeot commissioned him to work with their company and by 18, he entered the Design Program at the University of São Paulo, working shortly after at post-ad agency CUBOCC.
There, the potential of digital fabrication became evident, magic even. The original CUBOCC grew into Flagcx, where he acquired a leadership position. In 2012, while working at Flagcx, Speridião wanted to bring digital thinking to the physical world, so he initiated his own position as an anti-specialist; an independent agent working between departments bringing ideas together.
While at Flagcx, he co-founded Iceland2nd Nation and worked A-Z on projects such as the YouTube Science Box created for Google Brazil. An interactive, physical form of YouTube, whose purpose was to promote the biggest YouTube Brazil channel, the wood-clad box was created with CNC mill. Using a GPRS connection, the box opens automatically whenever a new Manual do Mundo video appears. The toolbox offered the user a hands-on opportunity to experiment with YouTube channels by piecing together materials in the box. Learn more about the project here.
Youtube Science Box. Photos by Wesley Lee Yang.
A Step Further, or Two
However, this approach still boiled down to ethereal products. Complex and long, the creative process was geared towards advertising as the end product, and Speridião decided that he wanted something more complete, more durational. Moving on, he adopted the position of head of technology and interaction design at Questto|Nó where he works today.
Speridião is also engaged in public speaking. After various lectures throughout Brazil, such as N Design 2016 where he represented Questto|Nó and at ágora Fab Livre, co-hosted with his former advisor Giselle Beiguelman, addressing themes of Design, Technology and Digital Fabrication; Speridião made it back to his office for a moment in São Paulo to discuss, screen-to-screen with ArchiExpo, Fab Labs and the digital world.
FLAGCX (all people together). Photo by Victor Nomoto, I hate flash
As a worldwide initiative, Fab Labs are a recent installation in Brazil, with more than 12 in San Paulo. Listen to Speridião explain how Fab Labs help the city and democratize access to digital data awareness.
“Design is a way to think, a way to connect the dots.”
Embodying his thinking surrounding connectivity, Andrei related his graduation thesis project to the theme of the city as an interface, a term coined by Martijn de Waal. Creating a system of digital Drains, he won two IDEA Brazil awards in 2014 in the student categories: Gold and Highlight. Here he speaks of this process.
The Designer Role in a Smart World
Objects around us are becoming smarter, connected (IoT), and Speridião believes that we should take the hype with a grain of salt. If everything becomes intangible, we’ll need to be careful about how we deal with data. Here he discusses the pros and cons.
“There will be a time when objects speak our language, but for now, we need to speak theirs.”