Tropical Shed / Laurent Troost Architectures
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Manufacturers : Cerâmica Rio Negro, Di Carbone, Flora Eto, Rainbird
Text description provided by the architects. Located in a popular and industrial district of the city of Manaus, characterized by row houses and warehouses of all kinds, this project of an archeology office together with a leisure area is a reinterpretation of the industrial typology to create a manifesto of the necessary rapprochement between Urban and Nature, especially within the capital of the Amazon.
The reinterpretation of the industrial typology was achieved by a sequence of three-dimensional porticos, made of smooth rebars, serving as guides for the growth of several species of vines that, when growing rapidly, define a double-height space, a “shed”, and, at the same time, shade the leisure area and the office, creating a tropical, airy and refreshing microclimate. The vines grow from flower boxes on both sides of the plot, where a pre-existing tree was also preserved, leaving the center of the plot completely free for any occupation. The speed with which the vines grew ensured a quick use of the shaded play area, even though it was very exposed to the harsh equatorial afternoon sun. Moreover, the landscape design turned this project into a “productive” landscape, since most of the species used here are PANCs (non-conventional food plants): skyvine, inch plant, wild ginger, arrowleaf elephant ear, passion fruit vine, arrowroot, etc.
On the front, the leisure area is hidden behind a hollowed-out facade of massive bricks that let the prevailing winds pass and discreetly reveal the depth of the lot without revealing all its details. The leisure area consists of a table with an integrated barbecue, an area with a shower and hammocks, in addition to a small swimming pool. This leisure area works both for the house on the neighboring and interconnected lot where the owners live, as well as a lounge area for the office located at the back of the lot. In practice, the leisure area table also became a meeting and/or workspace adapted to the post-pandemic “new normal” because it is airy and outdoors.
At the back of the lot, the archeology office occupies the central span with work and meeting tables, while a solid brick wall winds between the interior and exterior to define the gardens and technical spaces (bathroom, pantry, storage) on the sides of the lot. This snaking solid brick wall is either hollow to ensure cross-ventilation, or closed to define closed spaces or prevent cross-views from openings in the neighboring walls. The double-height of part of the office allows for more light and spaciousness in this plot of just over 5m wide. Openings to the gardens on both sides complement the issue of luminosity in addition to allowing cross ventilation of all the office environments.
In addition to the low-tech sustainability aspects described above, the roof of the lounge area, which seems to float between the porticos of vines, received an automated irrigation system that throws collected rainwater over the sandwich tile roof to physically cool the space. Without a gutter, the roof lets this irrigation waterfall into the side beds and, with the noise it generates, it also ends up psychologically refreshing the users, improving their sense of well-being.
In a nutshell, the typological reinterpretation proposed for this project, in addition to providing flexible and free spaces, generated an intense interaction with a sensorial tropical environment, proposing a different way of relating to the Amazon in urban environments, an emerging theme since these recent years have seen the majority of the population living in the Amazon move from rural to urban.