June 27, 2018 - Rosenbaum - Children's Village and Canuanã School
e-flux Architecture
June 27, 2018
June 27, 2018

Rosenbaum / Aleph Zero

Rosenbaum Arquitetura - Fazenda Canuanã, Formosa do Araguaia TO, Brasil. Photo: Leonardo Finotti.

Children's Village and Canuanã School


The project to house 540 students of the Canuanã boarding school aims to encourage local construction techniques together with the construction of a notion of self and of belonging, necessary for the childrens' development.

To better understand the scale of children, whose point of view changes with every inch grown, and to propose a new understanding of the space of learning as a place of residence, the "A Gente Transforma" methodology was applied. This involved an open and intense collaboration with the local community, teachers, administration, and especially, the children. The process went through stages of research, immersion, and collaboration with all those involved through workshops in which a common understanding of the problems and their possible solutions arose from dialogue, in which a hybrid between contemporary techniques and vernacular knowledges were sought. It became clear that there was great potential and beauty in local construction techniques, which used local soil to form adobe brick walls, both solid and perforated. Hence, this rough materiality, which performed extremely well in terms of climate and represented the connection between people and place, was chosen for the project's aesthetic.

The new configuration entails two large and airy villages, one for male students and one for female students. Each are filled with programs related to the act of learning. The villages are strategically placed along the edge of the urban plan, so as to guide the growth of the complex.

Residences are no longer defined as large dormitory spaces, but rather as forty-five individual units, each of which house six students each and are comprised of bunk beds, increased storage space, and private washing areas. The residential units are set together in groups of five and organized around three large patios filled with local plant species. The courtyards serve as gathering spaces, but also as means of reducing heat and controlling humidity. A pond with small fish, located inside the central yard, collects rainwater and, when there is enough, returns it to the Javaés River.

Adjacent to the residential blocks are different spaces for social interaction, such as TV rooms, reading spaces, balconies, resting hammock spaces, and play places, among others. These complementary programs were set and refined together with the students in order to improve their overall quality of life and increase their bond to the school. They also serve as complementary learning spaces outside of the school year.

A thin, white metallic roof supported by a lightweight wood structure following a 5.90m-square grid embraces the villages and common spaces. In addition to protection from sun and rain, the roof provides an intermediary space, like a great veranda that marks the vast horizon and frames views.

Glue-laminated eucalyptus wood was chosen for the structural components of the building for its versatility, pre-fabrication, and sustainable characteristics. Likewise, stabilized earth blocks composed of local soil, which eliminated the need for long distance transportation and provide optimal thermal properties, were used for enclosure and latticework.

Ultimately, the design for the new villages aims to increase the children's self-esteem, individuality, sense of belonging, responsibility for the environment, and overall academic performance. Thus, a dialogue is created between vernacular techniques and a positive model for sustainable housing.

Location Formoso do Araguaia - Tocantins - Brasil
Project Year 2014-2016
Client Bradesco Foundation / Canuanã School
Architecture Rosenbaum + Aleph Zero
Wood structure design, fabrication and construction Ita Construtora
Landscape Design Raul Pereira Arquitetos Associados
Lighting Design Lux Projetos Luminotécnicos
Structural foundation Meirelles Carvalho
Acoustics and Thermal insulation Consulting Ambiental Consultoria
Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Lutie
Concrete Slabs Trima
Construction Inova TS
Construction Management Metroll
Interiors and furniture design Rosenbaum and Fetiche Design
Record and communication Material Fabiana Zanin
Documentation Leonardo Finotti, Diego Cognato e Galeria Experiência

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