A Sustainable Center for Architecture in Curitiba, Brazil

Knowing that the building industry has an impact of around 50% of all material taken from Earth crust, 35% of all greenhouse gases and 40% of all waste produced, it is clear that the discussion of sustainability in architecture is not just one more detail, or an additional analysis, but instead a need for change.

“Sustainable design integrates considerations of resource and energy efficiency, healthy buildings and materials, ecologically and socially sensitive land use and an aesthetic that inspires, affirms and ennobles. Sustainable design can significantly reduce adverse human impacts on the natural environment while simultaneously improves quality of life and economic well being.”

Union Internationale des Architectes, Declaration of Interdependence for a Sustainable Future, Chicago, 1993

In Curitiba, a city in Brazil known for its urban planning and as an “eco-city” [cf. article here], had another initiative to encourage the construction of environmentally friendly buildings: the construction of a Sustainability Center where industries and community can experience sustainable technologies applied to building construction, energy and environment.

The green Center, designed by Studio ARQBOX Associated Architects, is located in the courtyard of an existent environmental analysis laboratory of the SENAI (National Service of Industrial Learning) headquarters, at the Curitiba Industrial City. The project’s volume was created from the environmental conditions such as solar radiation and prevailing winds. The north and south facades have different dimensions, resulting in less internal heating of the building during the summer. For the winter period, the construction is composed of high insulation capacity building materials. A green roof was proposed in order to reduce noise and optimize the interior thermal protection. The roof is sloped to north, providing the best solar radiation capture through solar panels.

Large openings to the north and south orientation ensures good natural lighting of the internal room during the day, which eliminates part of the need of electricity for artificial illumination.

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The constructive system used was Woodframe and ventilated walls, common in many European countries and North America, but still poorly used in Brazil. This technology provides energy savings, reduces 80% of CO² emissions, reduces construction waste, apart from other several advantages when compared to traditional masonry construction.

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In addition to the solutions mentioned, the Sustainability Center also has photovoltaic panels for energy production and systems for capturing pluvial water and for water reuse.

The SENAI Sustainability Center acts as an example of architecture that adopts environmentally friendly solutions in order to encourage the development of buildings proper to local conditions and with reduced environmental impact.

By Vivian Eliese Hoeflich Brune

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