Marko Brajovic’s Arca House in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest Looks Unreal

By: | August 25th, 2015

An arced metal structure as the shell and lots of texture to go with it, all complimenting the surroundings while providing artful human identity, defines the Brazilian “Arca” house, a project of atelier and architect, Marko Brajovic. But, equally as impressive as its simple elegance is the fact that it comes with the very convenient advantage of being prefabricated for ease of assembly which, in this case, took only one week.

The structure abuts the lush Parque de Bocaina and is located about 10 kilometers from the Brazilian city of Paraty. The Arca is set in a dense jungle that provides the intended isolation for artist, author, researcher, or enchantment seeker. The area is shared, however, with a multitude of fauna including sloths, bats, jaguars and spectacular butterflies, to name only a few. Outdoor LED spotlights provide a dramatic view of jungle nightlife. Aside from wildlife viewing and personal reflection, there is opportunity for fun in the nearby Pereque waterfall.

The arc shape resembles a Quonset hut. It was manufactured by shed builder Expobrax and consists of Galvalume panels, a composite of galvanized metals with aluminum, which deters rust in the soggy Brazilian rainforest. It sits atop pillars and side beams. The ends, both front and rear, are floor to ceiling glass panels with sliding glass doors that allow dappled light and airflow. The wooden flooring continues past the glass sliding doors to provide a small porch. The two bedrooms and bath are situated on either side and framed in wood, as are all interior walls, using space-efficient barn door sliders across the room entrances. Life’s other activities all take place in the central space between. The use of wood and metal give an ambiance of “homey luxury” amidst the dense jungle surroundings.

Brajovic doesn’t imagine this particular structure as a primary residence, though it certainly could be. He envisions it as more of a short-term respite from the chaos of modern life. But the ease of construction and relative low cost of materials make it a viable option for various settings. And since it is basically a shed that could be ordered in different sizes, it is not hard to imagine a scaled-down, low-budget version, even utilizing recycled materials, such as windows and doors.

Scaling down in size and gaining personal freedom is a recent trend crossing generations. Baby boomers in retirement are ditching the large family home and opting for a condo, or even hitting the road in their RV. Millenials are strapped with student loans and wanting to explore the world before setting permanent roots and raising kids, thus the appeal of the Tiny House Movement. A pre-fab option like the Arca house could be a great way to start out with a home base, but without the burden of mortgage debt.

In the current trend of creative housing, the Arca house is an option that could make sense in a multitude of settings and have cross-generational appeal.

Carol Mosley is a social ecologist, freelance writer, human rights activist, mini-farmer, and educator.

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