In Ribeirão Preto, in the region of San Paolo in Brazil, architects from the SuperLimão Studio designed a sustainable and bioclimatic pub which, even in its architectural form reflects the client’s brand.
The pub was strategically built in front of the Brazilian Colorado Brewery, Brazil's brand originally from Ribeirão Preto. The pub's logo, a bear, is evoked by the architectural form of the alehouse. The circular layout and the structural solutions designed by the architects give the pub a cave-like appearance, or rather that of a “toca do urso” (bear’s den), from which the locale gets its name.
The circular shape of the hall, together with the use of traditional construction techniques, are not only tied to the aesthetic desire to design a “den”, but are features that respond to the need to create a pleasant microclimate in an extremely hot region with very little wind. All with a view to sustainability and energy savings, therefore limiting the need for “active” air conditioning and taking advantage of the characteristics of the setting. The use of low cost traditional construction techniques has also made it possible to rely on a local workforce and on local raw materials, avoiding waste and leading to even further cost savings.
The pub was constructed right in front of the brewery, taking advantage of an area previously occupied by a parking lot. The study of the specific context was an important starting point. The architects took advantage of the special characteristics of the site and of the materials available on site. An example are the two large trees, which with their height and wide crown shade the area for a good part of the day. The architects preserved and used them to benefit the design, while also adding other arboreal essences typical of the place. The large circular room, a central element of the composition, was set 1.5 m underground,, using the soil removed during its construction to create an artificial slope measuring approximately 3 m around the room. The embankment built and the hall’s gabion walls offer exceptional thermal inertia similar to that found in caves, while also providing a second big advantage: sound absorption. The room is thus naturally soundproofed from the outside and from the nearby motorway. As far as the interior is concerned, the roof structure helps to improve the acoustic comfort of the space, reducing background noise and facilitating an optimal distribution of the music performed by bands in the locale. The architects also drew inspiration from the Islamic architectural tradition, improving and enhancing the natural ventilation of the space, as well as from medieval castles to dehumidify the air. The circular roof structure featuring a large central skylight, optimises the natural ventilation by capturing the wind from whichever direction it happens to be blowing from. The captured air passes through a system of channels connected to the water tank located in the centre of the room. The air cools down when it comes into contact with the water, dehumidifies and is reintroduced into the environment through a system of floor grilles. With the solutions conceptualised and implemented by the SuperLimão Studio, the microclimate is pleasant inside the pub, with a difference in temperature between the inside and the outside of about 15 °C, all without relying on an active air conditioning system.
Project: Toca do Urso
Architecture: SuperLimão Studio (Brasil) www.superlimao.com.br
Project Team: Lula Gouveia, Thiago Rodrigues, Antonio Carlos Figueira de Mello, Júlia Regis Bittencourt
City: Ribeirão Preto, Brazil
Area: 2,000 m2
Location: Rodovia Anhanguera, km 308 • Bairro Residencial Cândido Portinari • Ribeirão Preto
Images courtesy of SuperLimão Studio Photography: Maíra Acayaba