Cupe House by MNMA Studio


MNMA Studio

Andre Klotz




Pernambuco, Brazil


“When you come right down to it, all you have is yourself. The sun is a thousand rays in your belly. The rest is nothing.” – Picasso

A great yellow floor slab surrounded by sunlit balconies guided the Cupe houses project, located in a former coconut farm in Pernambuco, northeast Brazil. This design fosters sensations and harmony in its techniques and materials decisions.
The summer houses location is limited regarding technologies and material options, so as a feasibility strategy, the design used every available local materials and techniques. To complement local culture, a team of native workers (some of them fishermen) was introduced to materials like concrete and even cement, showing us that innovation, sustainability and accurate execution can be achieved with overall simplicity. These processes turned a “conventional” building in some sort of handicraft work.
The technical areas were carefully hidden from virtually any standing point of view, due a meticulous angle definition of the roofing. From above, a terrace presents the ocean frontally with no obstructions.
As a premise, the choice of materials is as sustainable as possible: the use of locally farmed wood and eucaliptus is dominant, so the CO2 emissions and energy consumption were minimized.
The walls were whitewashed, a readily available local technique that allows any moistures inside the wall to evaporate out and also has fungicide effect without toxic elements.
Most ceilings were made of branches and sticks collected along the execution time and allow a ephemeral effect of light into spaces.
Sérgio Rodrigues’ furniture (a classic and very renowned brazilian furniture designer and architect), along with Cariri Artisan’s Market various items, complement the house with symbolic and essential elements.

Text provided by the architect

THE TREE MAG – The Fruits of Ideas