Text description provided by the architects. The rough, sturdy exterior of the stone contains and protects the preciousness in its interior. By closing itself to the street, the building conserves in its center what in it exists of most valuable, the void. The patio here plays the role of an articulation element and stage for everyday life. The existence of the central space as an event and nucleus of spatial organization is an incentive to the encounter of people and collective coexistence.
Based on a government program that offers attractive financing conditions for low-income families (called Minha Casa Minha Vida), the project emerges with the premise of building with the minimum of financial resources, the maximum of architectural incentives for harmonious living among its residents. Therefore, the challenge was determined by the fundamental parameters of the project: to build eight apartments, with a suite and a bedroom with a hallway bathroom, summing approximately 70m2 with construction cost under 1,300 BRL (approximately 400 USD) per square meter.
In this way, the project explores the volumetric quality of containing the empty space and defining the internal courtyard of the building, opposed to the preconceived occupation for this type of project, that usually has no interaction within itself or adjacent urban elements. The implantation of Vila Amelia around the void suggests the occupation of the collective space and places it as a central issue in the functional structure of the building.
By elevating the courtyard to the condition of a programmatic articulator, the collective conforms the private so that they relate at various moments in the building. The rooms face areas of less traffic and permanence, while the social areas of the apartments face the internal patio, in which the presence of vegetation provides privacy to the units and quality of life to the residents.
As a way to reduce the expenses with construction work, the building was designed with an ideal structural modulation for the construction in reinforced concrete and prefabricated slabs. Steel structured walkways articulate the volumes with conventional brick masonry closings. The windows and doors have standard market dimensions and are arranged in different ways, composing the final appearance of the building. The slightly sloped rooftop stipulated by the inclination of the roof that covers the upper slab, allows greater sunlight for the patio and contributes to the composition of the facade of the building.
Vila Amelia proposes in a simple way a new practice in the way of life of its residents. The project results from a convergence between built and unbuilt spaces conditioning this way of life. The void supplements the building and acts as a catalyst for social situations.