A stunning nature retreat has popped up in Brazil’s lush and captivating Costa Verde rainforest. Assembled onsite in just one week, the prefab Arca (“Ark”), named after its likeness to an overturned vessel, is a two-bedroom home that serves as the perfect getaway from the bustling city of Paraty. Designed by architect Marko Brajovic, the arched structure fully embraces views of the outdoors while minimizing its impact on the landscape.
The 130-square-meter home is elevated on a concrete pier foundation and topped by a single metal shell that forms the roof and walls. Made of a composite of carbon steel, aluminum, and zinc, the large Galvalume shell gives the home an industrial feel that’s tempered by the Eucalyptus boards that clad all of the interior walls. Since the shell is self-supporting, there are no support columns, allowing the architects to maximize interior space and cap both ends of the shell with floor-to-ceiling glazing.
Marko Brajovic created Arca as a flexible space that can accommodate small family outings or professional training workshops. Flanked by outdoor decks, the home opens up to a large and light-filled open-plan space that comprises the living room, dining area, and kitchen. The bathroom is located on one side of the home, while two bedrooms are located on the opposite side. The beds fold into sofas if extra space is needed.
Inspired by Earthship’s passive solar principles, the Arca uses similar techniques to keep energy use to a minimum. The shell’s Galvalume panels reflect sunlight to minimize solar heat gain. The elevated floor allows cooling breezes to flow beneath the home, while wind-driven roof turbines suck out hot air. The prefab building can also be easily dismantled and rebuilt in a different location.
Images via Marko Brajovic, © Victor Affaro