FRENTES Arquitetura

Concurso A House in Luanda: Patio and Pavillion



Can a conventional understanding of architecture resolve the housing situation in Luanda? This is the challenge we hope and strive to answer with our home design concept called “Semba Blocks”.

In a city like Luanda, it is not the built or material form that makes the city a city. In a way, the city exists beyond its architecture. The architecture that functions best in Luanda is almost totally invisible on a material level. It is a human architecture (a social network of relationships and interactions) and imaginary planning that exists among Luandans that is invisible and incomprehensible to most outsiders. This invisible human architecture influences and forms the foundation of our home design solution.

“Semba Blocks” is the touching of homes with aspirations of organic multiplicity. It highlights and addresses: what is “minimum dwelling”; how a person lives in a home; what home may mean; how a person moves through the neighborhood; how a person feels the neighborhood; how existing social relationships can be enhanced by this home; and ultimately how a home integrates itself into the social fabric of a community that leads to a sustainable solution.

4 Key Points

- Designed a home with “simplicity” that meets the low-cost budget of €25,000 for a seven member family. We chose a simple block form that is both financially feasible and aesthetically appealing.

- Provided for both private and public patios spaces in experiencing the uniquely beautiful Luandan sky as seen in the home’s internal private patio, green roof deck and the public patio of the community.

- Created the possibility of “co-creation” where home owners have a choice in the placement of their home on the lot that creates other distinct public spaces within the community; where he/she may paint or etch designs on the adobe walls; and where doors may become artistic forms of self-expression.

- Developed simple “block” homes that weave itself into the urban fabric of Luanda providing a “semba-like” experience in walking through the community as seen by the non-linear walking paths and angled street corners leading to a texturized topology.

In conclusion, we hope our home design solution harmonizes where we can place and create “blocks of becoming” in terms of home and community, and the necessity of fulfilling the basic needs and functionalities of a home in a place that is increasingly transformed by global flows of finance capital, resource extraction and migration. Our desire is that “Semba Blocks” is not only just a physical home, but a concept of home that can be carried around and shared by the person, through their ability to act and be governed by a set of invisible architecture as well, rather than visible barriers of the ways in which cities are normally understood.

Ficha técnica

FRENTES (José Alves, Juliana Corradini) + BASEE (Peter Lau, Adriel Nunes)