Project description by the jury
The project deals with the construction of a nut processing building in São Francisco village adjacent to the Iratapuru River in the Amazon Basin. By modernizing the manufacturing plant, the facility will provide productive, cultural and economic opportunities for the local community. The main objectives of the intervention are to enable the storage and processing of Brazil nuts collected in the area, and also to ensure adequate working conditions for employees. The building is the result of a long and fruitful participatory design process between the architects, the local community, and Natura – the Brazilian cosmetics company uses ingredients extracted from the nuts in its merchandise and became the main financial contributor for the project’s implementation.
The productive site consists of a series of independent volumes that delimit specific areas and generate the programmatic function of the building. A continuous and independent wood structure canopy roof encases all the volumes providing a uniform cover for the articulated program. The choice of compressed earth and local certified wood as main materials ensures not only the environmental sustainability of the project but also the involvement of community members who can therefore acquire new knowledge and construction skills throughout the construction process.
A lack of hard definition and flexible simplicity stand as the signature of the architects of this beautiful project, and as key elements to achieving a sustainable intervention in the delicate Iratapuru region. The jury especially praised how the programmatic function of the building is solved through the elegant duality between light roofs and the massive walls to create volumes that accommodate the facilities necessary for Brazil nut processing. The engagement of the community during the design and construction process was also considered as a remarkable contribution to social inclusion and knowledge transfer.See more
As a Main category prize winner in the regional Holcim Awards 2020, Collective Harvest in Brazil automatically qualified as a finalist in the Global Holcim Awards 2021.
This project proposes a new processing plant for locally collected nuts. The riverside site is in the village of São Francisco in the Amazon basin. The building design is the result of a long and inspiring collaborative process involving the community and the client. The building comprises a series of independent volumes housing the various programmatic functions. These volumes are united beneath a single, continuous wood-frame roof. Beyond satisfying the program, the design aims to provide adequate labor conditions for the workers and to supply the local community with productive, cultural, and economic opportunities.
“What’s particularly sustainable about our project is the way that we transform matter into architecture by delivering knowledge to the local community,” explains prizewinner Gustavo Utrabo of Estúdio Gustavo Utrabo, São Paulo, Brazil. “We live in a country that doesn’t understand the importance of conserving nature. With this project, I can share ways to help people in the rainforest improve their lives while treating nature respectfully.” The jury praised how the programmatic function of the building is solved through the elegant duality between light roofs and the massive walls to create volumes that accommodate the facilities necessary for Brazil nut processing. The engagement of the community during the design and construction process was also considered a remarkable contribution to social inclusion and knowledge transfer.Read more » Más información (Spanish) »
Participatory approach - The project answers questions of social inclusion
Since its conception, the development of the project has been linked to design decisions that corroborate the premise of least social and environmental impact. The use of mudbricks molded in loco where the raw material is the soil of the construction area and the workforce made up of workers from the industry, is an example of the concern to maintain the collective involvement between architects, engineers and future users of the factory in its construction process, in addition to consolidating a dialogue with its immediate surroundings. Architecture, therefore, tries not only to comply with programmatic but also economic issues. Through the knowledge linked to the construction of a sustainable building, it is possible to expand the community wisdom, a new possibility of work unfolds.
The project is part of the riverside inhabitants decision to modernize their manufacturing plant, in order to guarantee better working conditions for those who benefit the Brazil nut in the region. These workers contribute for years to Natura, a Brazilian cosmetics company that, on the other hand, provided the necessary funds to the implementation of the project. The viability of it, therefore, permeates three transparent spheres, Natura (which links its production with social responsibility, returning to the partner community part of the profits generated from its workforce), the architects (who are accountable to the community, in view of their concern with the feasibility of the project) and the community itself (which works with the architects in the economic, legal and social spheres)
Flexibility and long-term adaptability
Through discussions with the community, we proposed an approach that contemplates different steps of implementation and also different construction techniques, considering that the money and knowledge invested in this new factory would be distributed locally as much as possible. The implementation strategy of the project consists of two parts. The first one is related to a light and efficient wooden structure with a prefab system made in loco, which takes into account the difficult access by boat. The second one is about autonomous volumes that delimit specific areas, guaranteeing watertightness and all the necessary conditions for the operation of each function.See more
The structural solution adopted in the industry project is closely linked to the premise of sustainability. Wood is a natural and low-impact material in terms of waste generation in construction. In addition, all the wood to be used is certified, which means that it is part of a reforestation cycle attested by Brazilian official environmental agencies. This choice is also linked to the fact that wood is a lightweight material that requires, therefore, smaller foundations, which generates less material consumption. In addition, its construction will serve as a test laboratory and as a means of spreading knowledge, since its construction will permeate an entirely participatory process.
An Amazon-basin facility where low-tech systems and sobriety in materials and form become drivers of holistic …
Author comment by Gustavo Utrabo of Estúdio Gustavo Utrabo, São Paulo, Brazil on Collective Harvest in Brazil – …
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