Building with Nature

Elevating Vernacular Riverside Architecture in Brazil

Research in Practice Grant (RPG) Report

This book, part of the research funded by the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction, aims to study the construction techniques found in the vernacular riverside architecture of the Amazon, in order to analyze its sustainability lessons and its potential application to local contemporary architecture.

Structured into two parts, the book initiates with a comprehensive exploration of traditional riverside communities. This first section unveils local construction

techniques that seamlessly blend housing with the natural environment of the Amazon region. A series of strategies accompanied by illustrations and detailed explanations are presented, providing a clear understanding of the relevance of these solutions for sustainable construction in a challenging environment.

The research methodology included field trips, interviews with residents and local builders of stilt houses and floating structures, and visits to various riverside dwellings in the state of Amazonas. The intention is to demonstrate how this knowledge, born out of adaptation to the specific climatic and geographic conditions of the Amazon River basin, can contribute to the construction of buildings more integrated with the territory, with less environmental impact, and that value local culture, generating alternatives to conventional urban solutions.

The second part of the book presents the practical application of this knowledge, using a proposed social housing project for at-risk riverside populations as an example. This project introduces an innovative approach to address the critical housing deficit in the region, drawing inspiration from traditional riverside architecture. Challenging conventional norms in social housing projects, the design seeks to create a replicable model that effectively addresses urban housing challenges, integrates local culture and adopts sustainable design principles.

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