Project: Aldeia House
Architects: AUÁ arquitetos
Location: Botucatu, Brazil
Authors: Diogo Cavallari, Isadora Marchi, Paulo Catto, Victor Berbel
Area: 143.0 m2
Photography: Vinicius Assencio
The Aldeia House was conceived as an attempt to converge into a single house the sometimes antagonistic demands of two people. The couple brought to the design process their concerns and expectations regarding their considerable change, not only a residential one, but also a lifestyle shift. The couple’s difficult choice to leave behind their urban lifestyle in exchange for a rural daily life has been fundamental to the definition of the architectural concept that deviated from the archetype of the countryside house to bring small doses of urbanity into the house’s routine. This attainment was possible by accessing some of the couple’s affective memories, a Portuguese and a Brazilian who lived for years in Portugal and stablished their roots in the European country.
The house references the Portuguese historical villages (aldeias) that, even in mainly rural contexts, are able to establish a kind of urban proximity between their buildings, to integrate them with the landscape and to softly adjust uneven terrains and accesses. By doing this, the Aldeia House creates small spaces of varied characteristics in a human scale and at the same time punctuates the landscape as a constructed intervention with diversity in its formal unit.
In this building with modest budget and dimensions, visual and circulation permeability are determinant for the spaces’ quality, but instead of being completely open to the impressive landscape of the Botucatu’s cuesta, all doors and windows were carefully dimensioned and positioned. The intention was to allow, in one hand, the sunlight control and, on the other, daily and punctual discoveries of the outer space by framing the landscape, encouraging people to fully enjoy the external areas like the central patio, the dry garden of pebbles and the wooden deck.
We have asked the couple that inhabits the Aldeia House to write about their experience and discoveries: from the project to the construction and, finally, to everyday life. The text goes below.
‘It started like this:” What do we want? We want a view, we want fresh air, we want a backyard, we want plenty of space for the dogs and to read our newspaper in the sunlight”.
We have been architecting for a few months… A couple is made up of two individuals. Each of us dreamed a house. Dreams inevitably conflicted. But, little by little, we found our common rooms. Our house has gained a name, Aldeia House. The name was given by the AUÁ architects and we soon adopted it because that was what we wanted!
The construction: “brick by brick in a magic drawing”, “they raised a house, where before there was only ground”. Time went on and the house grew, literally, physically, concretely. It was a delicate, laborious, dense and very rewarding process.
But after a few months, we just wanted to finish it… and still, time went on… rain, delays, delivery delays, everyday life delays… And we’ve learned how to wait, how to calm down our expectations, how to postpone the plan that had escaped from our control, and it was fine… “brick by brick in a magic drawing”, “they raised a house, where before there was only ground”.
And finally, the time to dwell, to occupy, to sleep in our Aldeia has come! It’s interesting too… everything is ready, it’s inhabitable and it took us a few weeks for us to assimilate the new space and for the new space to assimilate us. And this experience and it discoveries are so good. A light that appears there, at that specific time, and we did not know yet.
Our House Is Our Village, with light, with nature, with a common dream. We thank AUÁ architects and the guys from the construction site that helped us to have “our country house / in the ideal size / where we can plant our friends / our records and books / and nothing else!’