You don't need high-tech energy monitoring systems, solar panels, or a ground source heat pump to have a green home. Sometimes all you need is smart design, traditional architecture, knowledge of your climate and access to natural and locally available materials. That's what Marcio Kogan of Studio MK27 utilized when he designed the Bahia House in Salvador, Brazil, which stays cool even in 40 degree Celsius weather. The beautiful Brazilian house makes use of clay roofs, an open floor plan, natural ventilation, and wooden Mashrabiya screens.
This Bahian house in Salvador is a five-bedroom home designed as a square with an interior courtyard. A reflecting pool on one side of the courtyard helps cool the air as breezes blow across it. Two large mango trees in the courtyard provide additional shade coverage for the home and fresh fruit at harvest time. A large overhanging roof with clay tile and wooden ceilings provide ample shade for the interiors, protecting them from the hot Brazilian sun.
Wooden Mashrabiya screens cover openings, and some slide open to provide more light and ventilation. The screens were originally brought over to Brazil from Portugal, which was heavily influenced by Arabic architecture. These screens protect the interior from the sun while allowing air to pass through, and the wood absorbs some moisture which helps cool the air as it flows into the house. This Bahian home is oriented to take advantage of the sea breezes with optimally placed living areas.
Images © Nelson Kon