Text description provided by the architects. In 2010 a young couple with two children dreamed of building their own house, and for that, they enrolled in the Brazilian Programme, Minha Casa Minha Vida, (My house, My life). They wanted to live near their parents and not far from the city centre.
Furthermore, they wanted to help actively in the house design process and not only have a common standard ready-made house, as the available houses of the programme are most of the time. The solution was to get financial assistance. However, their income only allowed a maximum of R$ 80.000,00, which should include the purchase of the land and the construction price. A very challenging task.
After choosing the site, the big challenge was to overcome the limitations of the Brazilian Programme, Minha Casa Minha Vida, and so, provide the opportunity of living in a house with contemporary architectural concepts with its functional, technical and aesthetic qualities. The low amount of money available to build the house demanded dexterity to optimise the interior spaces and for choosing building materials and construction techniques.
Functionally, the house is developed along a generous concrete gutter, raised 2.10m above the floor and located in the central axis of the house. It connects all the rooms of the house. This strategy is intended to:
- Simplify the construction by structuring all the different roofs with a view to collecting the rain water.
- Eliminate the necessity of interior beams above the doors, because all of them are located under the gutter.
- Facilitate the future enlargement process of the house as all future rooms can be easily built along the concrete gutter.
The fact that the clients would prefer an inward facing house with no openings to the street demanded the design process to develop itself around the gardens, which not only are part of all the activities that might happen in the house, but also give the house the sense of amplified spaces, even being small ones. The rooms, as large and well integrated as possible, change the perception of isolated functions, transforming them into a set of great living spaces.
The use of low cost and easily available materials, combined with local labour and creative ways of arrangements and finishing, made it possible to achieve some sofisticated design results. The extensive work involved with the detailing of the project made it possible to eliminate some unnecessary costs and to achieve satisfying results through custom solutions executed at the site.
In the pictures we can observe the house already in occupation by the residents, with their furniture and the stamp of their personality. At the back of the house, some provisory and necessary contributions to their daily life have already appeared. Using the reserved space, the residents added a roof to the laundry as well a wood made shelter for the car.
The Brazilian Programme, Minha Casa Minha Vida, which offers private financial initiative to buy the land and build the house, ends up limiting the possibilities of invention during the design process because of the conditioning and legal demands. We, therefore, consider that this low cost urban house is distinguished by the quality of its created spaces. Examples such as this one can disseminate a range of possibilities to create low cost architecture without being obliged to have recourse to standard solutions.