This article is part of our new "Material Focus" series, which asks architects to elaborate on the thought process behind their material choices and sheds light on the steps required to get a building constructed.
The Casa no Cerrado (Cerrado House) was designed by Vazio S/A office. It was built in Moeda, Minas Gerais and, according to the architects while it seeks to explore the plasticity of basic architectural elements, the project showcases this unappreciated and threatened natural area: the Cerrado. We spoke with architect Carlos M. Teixeira to learn more about his choices of materials and the challenges of the project.
What are the main materials used in the project in question?
CMT: Exposed concrete, glass, aluminum, stained concrete, eucalyptus.
What were your main sources of inspiration and influence when they were choosing the materials used in the project?
CMT: Brutalist Architecture, engineering "works of art" (concrete viaducts and bridges) and some contemporary architecture graduates of the Architectural Association.
Describe how decisions on materials influenced the design of the project.
CMT: The house has a pool on the roof. The material choice reflects the idea of exposing the structure that houses the pool and the walls that surround it. There was not exactly a choice of material. It was more a decision to expose the structure of the pool-terrace.
What were the advantages that this material offered for implementing the project?
CMT: I believe that in this case, the reinforced concrete was the only structural option. The second most important material is eucalyptus used in the brises. It is a relatively cheap wood and, depending on proper maintenance, stands up well to the elements.
Did the choice of materials create any kind of challenge to the project?
CMT: Some of the facades and slabs are textured, others aren’t. The plywood, when new, yielded smooth surfaces; while re-used plywood (regardless of its form and condition) yields uneven surfaces. Some material and worker mistakes and contingencies were accepted; some others were encouraged.
How did you research suppliers and builders suitable for the materials used in the project?
CMT: Materials and design construction techniques do not require above average or specially skilled labor. Still, since it is a house built with local labor from the small town of Coin (5,000 inhabitants), it was necessary to accept some mistakes and inaccuracies.