Terra Vermelha

++ Sonderpreis DGNB Sustainability Challenge – Forschungsarbeit Terra Vermelha ++

Rio de Janeiro is one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world. Today, roughly 11 million Brazilians are living in dense favelas. The construction without rules leads to large fires and devastating landslides. But the construction next to, on top and with each other has huge advantages: Architecture is created with the community. People know and help each other. Life happens in in-between spaces, on terraces and streets. That leads to a unique sense of community.

But how do you create a safe, affordable and sustainable favela architecture? Materials need to be local due to the weak infrastructure in Rio. Construction companies are expensive. That is why building techniques need to be simple, so they can get built by the owners themselves. The site is a hilly area 10 kilometres west of the famous Copacabana, called “Vale Encantado”. The community there offers guided tours through the rain forest. They focus on eco-tourism.

A communal tower is the centre of our design. The small footprint saves the forest and soil. On three levels, guides will plan hiking tours and conduct workshops. To create housing for guests and tourists, the existing buildings get extended. A wood construction creates a large roof on top of the existing houses. Underneath, flexible housing units are built. Between the guest houses, communally used in-between spaces are created. The typology allows the busy, community-centred life of Brazilians. The main construction materials are rammed earth and wood. Both materials are local and easy to use. Thus, we combine the Brazilian sense of community with sustainable building techniques.   

Sustainability, Favela, Earth Architecture

Technical University of Berlin
Supervisor: Prof. Rainer Hehl
Chair: Design and Construction
Team: Leo Zenziper