nestled in the woods of rio grande do sul in brazil, porto quadrado has designed and built the ‘sao chico co-housing’ project. the brief was initially to create a single holiday home large enough to be shared by three families, however, the scope of work changed in order to take advantage of the unique landscape and abundant vegetation. the result is three separate structures measuring just 35 m2 that offer a combination of indoor and outdoor living space.
all images © alessandro quevedo
the compact floor plan of each house includes space for a foyer, kitchen, living room, bathroom, bedrooms and a barbecue pit. the design by porto quadrado optimizes the limited size with the use of timber decking to extend the living area into the outdoor environment, bringing residents closer to nature.
the houses were built using structural insulated panels (SIP) – a sustainable prefabrication technique that provides great strength and thermal comfort at low cost. the three 35 m2 volumes were also assembled in less than a day and a half, further improving their cost-effectiveness with reduced construction time.
the 48 prefabricated panels arrived on site with built-in conduits for electrical and plumbing services. this allowed the two experienced carpenters, who were working as the onsite assemblers, to erect the panels without any problems even though they had never worked with SIP panels before.
the material quality of the project is directly related to the prefabricated system, as SIP panels are nothing but an insulating core of EPS covered with two OSB plates. internally, this plate is its own finish. externally, the system is clad with a waterproof membrane and galvalume tile coating (55% aluminum-zinc alloy coated sheet steel). the finished product is a rigid metal box that provides a striking contrast to the natural surroundings, while the wooden interior finishes evoke warmth and comfort.
project name: sao chico co-housing
location: rio grande do sul, brazil
architect: porto quadrado
photography: alessandro quevedo
edited by: lynne myers | designboom