The Casamirador Savassi residential building, completed in 2021, is in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil. It features boldly designed architecture by Gisele Borges that stands out in the local landscape.
The building has 14 lofts, 24 studios and nine floors. It is located on a narrow area with a width of only 12.7 m and 60 m in length. The challenging volume and tight spaces were factors that influenced some of the less obvious decisions, resulting in a unique style of architecture. The unique shape tapers towards the sky,
The interrelationship of the building’s structure and architecture allowed great creativity resulting in the building’s unique characteristic and most prominent element: A second skin that the building wears almost like a garment.
The project used aluminium and painted it an earthy reddish sepia tone, a referral to the abundance of raw iron ore in Minas Gerais. The perforated aluminium sheets in different sizes and symmetries, allowed for harmonious lightness and transparency, letting the screen be semi-transparent, while offering privacy to the residents. It reminds you of the Brazilian Cobogós, creating a sustainable and aesthetic solution.
This element also made it possible to explore an abundant range of effects – from hiding smaller, functional windows, to “tearing” the skin to expose the large spans. These windows allow the city to become an extension of the house, providing abundant light and ventilation. The concrete frames of the openings contrast with the predominant oxidised colour.
“What remains is beauty and lightness. A very familiar thing.” Says architect Gisele Borges.
Thermal comfort considerations
The skin provides thermal comfort to the units, plentiful shading and good ventilation. Sustainability was a great consideration in creating this building. Due to the small dimensions of the plot, and minimal rooftop space for equipment or photovoltaic panels, it was necessary to find a solution that would avoid the heat from entering the building.
The building’s pyramidal shape made it possible to allocate technical areas on the external and internal face of the masonry and skin to ensure clean and modest plastic.
Spotlight on the highlights
The project had its challenges, specifically regarding the placement of the pyramid at a single point. To succeed in doing this, Brazilian architect, Oscar Niemeyer, created a V-shaped pillar. Bent sheets were used on four sides creating flatness on the facades and increasing rigidity.
The sheets were randomly perforated, and the joints aligned, to produce the midpoint of each floor and aligning the slabs.