Architecture studio Mixtura has built a new conventual complex, featuring wooden textures and artisanal details in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil.
Named Conventual Complex, the 5,300-square-metre building was completed as part of an important social project that the Fondazione Betania Onlus has been carrying out in Brazil since 2010.
The cell building seen from the east
The project has already seen the construction of a kindergarten for 120 children from the neighboring favelas, and also involves the construction of a school complex for more than 500 children living in conditions of serious hardship.
Childrens playing in front of the refectory
Mixtura completed the building based on a participatory method with architects and clients.
The goal of the project was to create a community, aiming to establish a positive relationship between man, the built environment, and nature.
The complex is comprised of six buildings: a refectory, a church, an administration building, a library, a sacristy, and cells.
The sacristy building and reception hall
The conventual complex is comprised of low-tech buildings, where wood textures design the structure and cladding, giving the building a strong architectural identity that is further enhanced from the use of local artisanal manpower and traditional cooling techniques.
The project integrate large wooden roofs and brise-soleil protect the buildings from direct solar radiation.
The cell building seen from north-west
On the other hand, permeable walls and rotating adjustable panels keep the rooms naturally ventilated, resulting in environmentally-friendly comfort without the use of mechanical systems.
The complex was designed to combine maximum energy efficiency with minimum environmental impact, aided in large part by the use of photovoltaic panels and rainwater recovery systems.
The refectory. Play of light on the walls
“This is an ambitious and innovative project to provide young people of Bahia’s favelas of Bahia a better future based on improved care of the body, mind, and spirit, as well as through the pedagogical and educational value of the architectural quality of the spaces,” said Mixture.
“As architects we strongly believe that architecture can positively change people’s lives. The convent is a project that we have been involved in, both professionally and humanly, for many years. It was not only about creating a building, but also about understanding the deep nature of the place where we were going to design,” said Cesare Querci, Architect, Mixtura.
“Salvador de Bahia is a special place, where Western culture merges with African culture to foster a unique cultural and religious syncretism.”
The refectory. Hall at night
“But its suburbs are also very fragile and dangerous places, where violence and crime are the paradigm people deal with on a daily basis.”
“The convent is located in this context, in the São Cristóvão neighborhood, one of the poorest and most dangerous in Salvador.”
“Here, good architecture can be an antidote to the marginality to which millions of people are condemned in suburbs throughout the world. It is a sign of respect and dignity,” Querci added.
The refectory. Play of light on the walls
Young and passionate, the Mixtura architects enthusiastically accepted the challenge of creating a building that embodied the Franciscan charism of the clients, based on prayer and hospitality, while responding to needs derived from Salvador’s tropical climate and social context.
Che entrance of the church seen from the churchyard
The church. Interiors at night
The churchyard in front of the church. On the right in the background the refectory building
The balconies of the cells and the brise-soleil system
The reception hall from 1st floor
On the left the back of the church. On the right the library
The church entrance with crucifix in the background
The refectory at night
The refectory ati night. On the left the churchyard
Exploded axonometric view
Project name: Conventual Complex
Architects: Mixtura (Maria Grazia Prencipe, Cesare Querci)
Location: Salvador de Bahia, Brazil
Client: Fraternità Francescana di Betania
Lead Architect: Cesare Querci (Mixtura AP)
Structural design: Carpinteria Estruturas de Madeira
Wooden structure: Escon Estrutura e Consultoria LT
Concrete structure: Light design: Mixtura AP, Nereo De Monte
Design Team: Cesare Querci, Maria Grazia Prencipe, Guido Di Croce
Early Stage design: Cesare Querci, Maria Grazia Prencipe, Guido di Croce, Alessandro d’Onofrio, Fabio Speranza, Vittoria Grifone
All images © Cesare Querci.
All drawings © Mixtura.
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