Winner of the RIBA International Prize 2018 for the world’s best new building, awarded every two years to a development that embodies design excellence and architectural ambition and delivers meaningful social impact, Children Village was designed by Brazilian architectural firms Rosenbaum and Aleph Zero.
This student housing complex is for 540 children of settlers, caboclos and indigenous people coming from remote areas of the country, some travelling many hours by boat, to study at Canuanã School—the nation’s largest boarding school—on the edge of the rainforest in central Brazil. The project aims to answer the question of whether it is possible to have a genuinely rural model of development that is just as innovative and sustainable yet distinct from the urban model. It does not require the abandonment of tradition in favour of modernity, but acts as a bridge between the two, embracing the history and indigenous cultures of Brazil, while combining the wisdom of local resources and techniques with contemporary aesthetics.
One reality in villages is that the profession of architect does not exist, but by rethinking the role of architecture and redefining the programme of a rural boarding school, Rosenbaum and Aleph Zero have demonstrated what architects can do in a place that supposedly has no need for them. Gustavo Utrabo, partner of Aleph Zero, says, “Architecture always looks to exciting knowledge and projects it into the future. It’s the only way to move forward. Every place needs an architectural perspective. Rural areas shouldn’t be different. We design the spaces that shape our society and this is endless.” In a reaction against concrete, generic and mass-produced buildings prevalent in villages worldwide, Children Village shows that it is possible to have a highly specific vernacular housing type based on structures that have gradually been adapted over the ages to their climate and location, one that responds to indigenous ideals of beauty while in keeping with the times.
|Project Name||Children Village|
|Location|| Fazenda Canuanã, Formoso do|
Araguaia, Tocantins, Brazil
|Completion Date||January 2017|
|Site Area||23,344.17 square metres|
|Building Height||9.5 metres|
|Client/Owner||Bradesco Foundation; Canuanã School|
|Architecture Firms||Rosenbaum; Aleph Zero|
|Principal Architects|| BMarcelo Rosenbaum; Adriana Benguela;|
Gustavo Utrabo; Pedro Duschenes
|Main Contractor||Inova TS|
|Civil & Structural Engineer||Helio Olga|
|Images/Photos|| Cristobal Palma; Rosenbaum;|
Aleph Zero; Leonardo Finotti