Container Modular System for Social Housing in Rio de Janeiro

As any other country from the majority world, Brazil is struggling to balance the equation between population growth and provision of infrastructure and shelter. Rio de Janeiro is the location of this case study due to the evident combination of these facts. 22% of cariocas lives in more than 700 favelas scattered thought the whole city.
The need to improved residential dwellings in favelas is crucial. Most of houses are constructed based on limited expertise and experience offering risks to its users and surrounding community. Besides that, the environmental conditions of favelas in Rio de Janeiro is challenging because the sites are build up to its limit, crowed on all sides by mountains and/or urban center. The natural development of favelas has produced overpopulated and dangerous conditions that do not account for the general safety and comfort of its inhabitants.

This study tries to reveal the potentials to achieve thermal comfort in regenerated dwellings in favelas combining the traditional brick construction with reclaimed containers, which is a modular system by its nature. Together the assembly offers numerous possibilities and higher standards for safety and comfort.

In order to do so, this modular system study took into account climate sensitive design, low energy cooling technologies and economical restrains imposed by the context of this research, leading the challenge of proving that thermal comfort in favelas in Rio de Janeiro can be fulfilled using only a variety of passive strategies.
The potential of each passive design strategy was tested, including different materials for envelopes combined with natural ventilation and fans, solar chimney and earth duct system. The main parameter used for result analysis and variants comparison was the PMV (Predicted Mean Vote), indicating the comfortable levels based on human behavior.

The findings in this report facilitate the comprehension of the importance of passive design systems for building design and users comfort. It also highlights important points and offers guidelines for the proper combination of passive strategies for semi tropical climates, improving the performance of buildings and rethinking the typical approach of air conditioned spaces.

Mentor: Christian Frenzel
Photo: Por Chensiyuan - Obra do próprio, CC BY-SA 3.0

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Marcela Rodrigues Potting – Brazil

Marcela Rodrigues Potting – Brazil

Marcela graduated from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro as Civil Engineer followed by a year of research in UK on holistic building systems, social behavior and environmental factors involved in building construction. Returning to Brazil she joined a team of architects searching for sustainable building solutions.