Casa Sustentável is a lovely brick house located in Ouro Branco, Brazil, designed in 2019 by GPA&A – Gustavo Penna Arquiteto & Associados.


Gustavo Penna Architect & Associates and Gerdau launched in Ouro Branco the first house built from co-products of the mining operation. Called the “Sustainable House”, the pilot project is part of the Gerdau Germinar Program’s environmental education equipment that presents the public with new concepts of sustainability applied to mining and the concept of circular economy in housing – one of the new social investment territories of Gerdau. This house is a test model for studies and improvements, to achieve the ideal result for the construction of sustainable cities and neighborhoods.

The Mining Engineering Department of the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) in partnership with Gerdau has developed a solution of blocks, draining floors and iron ore tailings mortar, a solution that can transform mining waste management in the future.

For the development of this technology and the construction of the House, about 30 people have focused on solving this challenge that unites sustainability, education and quality housing. The 45 m2 house complied with the Federal My House My Life program, and was designed by architect Gustavo Penna, who sought the ideal combination of design and the best use of natural resources. The House has environmentally friendly systems that are already accessible to the market, such as solar heating, power generation, biodigesters, composting tanks and rainwater collection.

“Our SUSTAINABLE HOUSE is made of matter and spirit. Raw material, the unused by-products of mining activity, is the main component: we take advantage of its qualities and properties. Finding an environmentally sound use for these wastes determines the unique character of the housing unit. In its spirit, the housing unit intends, besides its technical function, to be a home, a place for each person to feel valued, welcomed in their dreams, hopes and desire to live together. Every house, even in its simplicity, must be able to create a sense of pride and self-esteem,” adds Gustavo Penna.

Researchers and students can visit the Sustainable House at Gerdau Germinar Biocenter. The space acts as an environmental education tool and its main objective is to show in practice the relevance of mining for the contemporary world and the various technologies that can be adopted in our homes, in order to make them more sustainable.

For the Sustainable House to achieve its role of dissemination and education related to mining activity and sustainability, Gerdau has created an augmented reality version that enables interaction with the project and constructive solutions. The visitor may also take a control, which allows access to the House over the internet.

Photography by Jomar Bragança

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