Designed to inspire local residents to adopt more sustainable living and building practices, Casa Modelo places bioclimatic strategies at the forefront of its design. Local architecture firm PITTA Arquitetura designed the residence for a location selected by homeowner Juan Diego Erhart of BIO Empreedimentos, a sustainable real estate development company. The comfortable and efficient dwelling draws upon natural resources to lighten its environmental footprint.
The home is set in a humid climate with hot summers and large amounts of rainfall, so the vegetation, sun, precipitation, and wind were all important factors for the architects to address. Elevated above the ground, nestled amidst existing trees and vegetation, the home does not interfere with the existing topography—it embraces it without disturbing it.
The two-bedroom, 1,110-square-foot home is purposefully positioned on the site in alignment with the orientation of the sun. High ceilings and large openings take advantage of the prevailing winds, facilitating natural ventilation. Bedrooms embrace the morning light, while overhangs and foliage protect living spaces from the hot summer sun. In the winter, sunlight from tall north-facing windows falls upon the concrete walls and floors, which absorb heat during the day and release it at night.
Embodying a less-is-more approach, the simple material palette of cement, wood, and slate lets the surroundings be the focal point. Large living spaces are designed with flexibility in mind. The plans include the option to construct an adjoined 320-square-foot module with an additional bedroom and bathroom, so the home is can be customized to the occupant's financial and spatial needs.
In addition to the structural form, movable openings, and facade treatment, which embrace the tropical setting, multiple systems help minimize the home's energy and water use. A solar array covers 100% of the home's electrical needs, a rainwater harvesting system provides water, and highly efficient lighting, electrical equipment, and smart home devices help reduce the home's footprint.
Casa Modelo is a stunning example of sustainable architecture, and a stepping stone in breaking the myth that green construction is expensive and difficult. In contrast, it shows just how attainable and attractive eco design can be.
Related Reading: 9 Eco-Friendly Homes With Smart, Sustainable Features
Architect of Record: PITTA Arquitetura
Builder / General Contractor: Construtora Wave
Structural Engineer: Obratech
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