Gallery: Brazilian Mopi School Has a Beautiful Branch Pattern Facade

We sure wish we'd been lucky enough to attend school at a gorgeous green building like this one in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil when we were kids. The students that attend the Mopi School get to see its unique, branch patterned facade made of eucalyptus every morning and spend the day learning within its colorful walls. Mareines + Patalano Arquitectos, who designed the school, incorporated many smart, energy-saving strategies into the building as well as a greenery-filled roof garden (coming soon).

The school was conceived as four distinct volumes connected by open balconies. The volumes form a “U” shape that opens toward a nearby forest park and mountains – a backdrop this writer would have much preferred to the drab boulevard of cars her childhood classroom windows faced. The two elliptical volumes house the main classrooms, while the two water droplet shaped volumes contain secondary spaces like offices, an art room, a library, and a computer classroom.

While the building being split into four volumes clearly assigns the purpose of each one, it also facilitates air circulation and natural cooling. Many of the school’s walls are made of translucent glass, filling each classroom with natural daylighting and also cutting down on energy usage. The school is also working on transforming its top floor into a roof garden with grass and small trees for both play and learning.

The Mopi School’s eye-catching facade is made of micro perforated pre-oxidized copper panels attached to fast-growing sustainable eucalyptus wood beams. The holes in the copper allow air to pass while blocking rain water and also play with light, appearing opaque from the outside and semi transparent from inside during the day and semi transparent at night.

+ Mareines + Patalano Architects

Photos © Leonardo Finotti


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