Brazilian colonial house, a form-of-life

Giving back the equilibrium of the Sobrado house as heritage object implicates its spatial and material essence: Not necessarily in the historical memory of a time passed, but in a material and spatial essence of its original matrix. In terms of volume and character. Returning it to the present urban landscape, while redeeming and reconfiguring its character. A structure that utilises itself of memory to liberate itself from layers of time that hid its character, and in this, find possibilities.

To experience Local cultures and their people-centered, place-based character charges new rapports of identification and creativity with our everyday, generating possibilities for new constellations and knowledge.

Coinciding with the denomination of the house as National Heritage in 2017, urgency shed light on the degradation of the surrounding community and landscape, the speeded process of erratic urbanisation, and the jeopardisation of its cultural identity, knowledge and symbolism, which are considered as integral elements of the spirit of a place.

The Sobrado na Ladeira, built ca 1850, is contoured by a cobbled-stone path, ladeira, laid by slaves leading to the historical church of Nossa Senhora da Conceicao, dating ca 1750. It has housed residence and commerce as a constitutive past of its layout. The ground-level space historically might also have been used to store food, or dry coffee.

Historical and contemporary together

In 2015 an expanded idea of renovation begins, envisioning not only the architectural conservation of the house and its surroundings, but its re-vitalization through a series of actions.

     Our vision is to re-establish the historical situation of this sobrado by the ladeira in the old Parish, within a contemporary context.  

By observing traditional and contemporary elements: the church-goers; the views to the Lagoon; the fishermen┬┤s boats gurgling; the nets being cast for fishing; the coffee that might have been planted and dried; the manioc that fed the adapting immigrants; the craft that decorated their interiors such as the bilro lace; the native plants that once covered the soil; we are able to generate insurgent actions connecting the past to contemporaneity.  

The Sobrado is a historical space of and for memory of the Nossa Senhora da Conceicao Parish and we open it for contemporary interaction. A people┬┤s way of living, their history and present, material and immaterial knowledge, are our starting points for the revitalization that aims to connect history and contemporaneity.



Roberta Burchardt

Isabel Kanan

Instagram @sobradonaladeira

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