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Casa Vila Matilde

Casa Vila Matilde is the newly-refurbished home of Dalvina “Dalva” Borges Ramos, a 74-year-old house maid in the outskirts of São Paulo, Brazil. Ms. Dalva. She had few possessions and was living in a house with structural and sanitary problems. A man in Brazil approached TERRA E TUMA arquitetos associados to rebuild his mother’s dilapidated house. The House was rebuilt using standard concrete blocks and decorated with plenty of trees and plants.

Casa-Vila-Matilde-By-TERRA-E-TUMA-arquitetos-associados-06-Pedro-Kok-759x506 Casa Vila Matilde / TERRA E TUMA arquitetos associados

© Pedro Kok

After a storm ravaged her 25-year-old home and caused the roof to collapse in 2013, her son Marcelo became increasingly concerned about her safety. Given the severity of structure’s crumbling architecture and Ramos’ 150,000 reais ($43,000) life savings, Marcelo gave full creative freedom to the local architecture firm Terra e Tuma Arquitetos to rebuild the house, with only one request: speed!

Casa-Vila-Matilde-By-TERRA-E-TUMA-arquitetos-associados-07-Pedro-Kok-759x506 Casa Vila Matilde / TERRA E TUMA arquitetos associados

© Pedro Kok

After carefully demolishing the old house and fortifying its foundation and retaining walls, the architects maximized the plot’s skinny 4.8 m x 25 m (16 ft x 82 ft) footprint with a two-story 95 sqm (1,000 sq.ft) house, a courtyard, and a rooftop vegetable garden.

Casa-Vila-Matilde-By-TERRA-E-TUMA-arquitetos-associados-10-Pedro-Kok-759x569 Casa Vila Matilde / TERRA E TUMA arquitetos associados

© Pedro Kok


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© Pedro Kok

“At the first, Ms. Dalva was a little bit surprised by the result,” says Terra e Tuma co-founder Danilo Terra to Quartz. But with the worldwide attention to the project, Terra added, “she’s made herself at home properly. She fell in love with the garden.”

Casa-Vila-Matilde-By-TERRA-E-TUMA-arquitetos-associados-15-Pedro-Kok-759x949 Casa Vila Matilde / TERRA E TUMA arquitetos associados

© Pedro Kok

TERRA E TUMA arquitetos associados:

In 2011, a young man reached out to us about the possibility of designing a house for his mother, a person of few belongings, who lived in a house with severe structural and sanitary problems.

Casa-Vila-Matilde-By-TERRA-E-TUMA-arquitetos-associados-18-Pedro-Kok-750x1000 Casa Vila Matilde / TERRA E TUMA arquitetos associados

© Pedro Kok

Ms. Dalva has lived for decades in Vila Matilde, an outlying neighbourhood in São Paulo, Brazil. Close to her are cousins, uncles, brothers and friends. The first option would be to sell the house, and with her lifetime savings acquire a small apartment, even further away and most likely without access to an elevator. A troublesome situation, considering her advanced age.

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© Pedro Kok


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© Pedro Kok

Before long, it was glaringly obvious to resist displacement and isolation. To not move away. With this in mind, it was up to us and a network of collaborators to make it work. Once the process commenced, there was no going back and everything had to work until the end. The project’s design and construction work had to be suitable to the family’s constrained finances.

Casa-Vila-Matilde-By-TERRA-E-TUMA-arquitetos-associados-27-Pedro-Kok-750x1000 Casa Vila Matilde / TERRA E TUMA arquitetos associados

© Pedro Kok

In early 2014, the house showed clear signs of deterioration and began to collapse. Ms. Dalva went on to live on rent at a relative’s house. The new house had to be built as fast as possible, else her expenses would completely consume all savings.

Casa-Vila-Matilde-By-TERRA-E-TUMA-arquitetos-associados-28-Pedro-Kok-800x1200 Casa Vila Matilde / TERRA E TUMA arquitetos associados

© Pedro Kok

“We used our recent experiences in exposed, structural wall blocks to erect a low-cost building, with great control and agility.”

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© Pedro Kok


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© Pedro Kok

The biggest challenge appeared at the first stage of construction. Careful demolition of the old house took four months, at the same time that we executed the foundation and reinforced retaining walls which supported neighbouring buildings. The house was completed six months after masonry work was set forth.

Casa-Vila-Matilde-By-TERRA-E-TUMA-arquitetos-associados-38-Pedro-Kok-750x1000 Casa Vila Matilde / TERRA E TUMA arquitetos associados

© Pedro Kok

The house is laid out in a 4.8m by 25m urban lot. On the ground floor, it features a living room, lavatory, kitchen, laundry and suite, to attend the needs of the homeowner. An articulation between lavatory, kitchen, laundry and an inner courtyard connects the living room at the front to the bedroom in the back. At the center, the green courtyard provides for light and ventilation. This area also serves as an extensions of the kitchen and laundry. The second floor accommodates a guest room, rendering a total area of 95m2. A vegetable garden grows on top of the living room’s concrete slab ceiling, and can be covered later to accommodate future demands of the family.

A simple solution, result of a long, complex and gratifying process.

Casa-Vila-Matilde-By-TERRA-E-TUMA-arquitetos-associados-40-Pedro-Kok-759x506 Casa Vila Matilde / TERRA E TUMA arquitetos associados

© Pedro Kok

Project Data:

Project name: Casa Vila Matilde
Location: São Paulo, Brazil
Coordinates: -23.516631, -46.511303
Type:

  • Type By Characteristic: Renovation / Expansion / Extension : House, Low Cost House
  • Type By Site: City / Town House
  • Type By Size: Small House – (51 sqm – 200 sqm)
  • Type By Materials: Brick House

Project Area: 95 sqm (1,000 sq.ft)
Status: Completed
Cost: 150,000 reais ($43,000)
Completion Date/Year: 2015

Awards:

  • 2016 – ArchDaily Building of the Year Award – Category: Houses – Winner
  • 2016 – X Bienal Iberoamericana de Arquitectura y Urbanismo (BIAU) Award

The people:

Client / Owner / Developer: Dalvina “Dalva” Borges Ramos
Architects: TERRA E TUMA arquitetos associados – Rua Amália de Noronha, 196 – Pinheiros, São Paulo – SP, 05410-010, Brazil
Project Team: Danilo Terra, Pedro Tuma e Fernanda Sakano, Bruna Hashimoto, Giulia Sofia Galante, Jéssica Zanini, Lucas Miilher, Zeno Muica
Landscape: Gabriella Ornaghi Arquitetura da Paisagem
Structure: Megalos Engenharia
Construction: Valdionor Andrade de Carvalho e equipe
Text Description: © Courtesy of TERRA E TUMA arquitetos associados
Images: © TERRA E TUMA arquitetos associados, Pedro Kok

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