Mixtura - FFB Convent: like a maloca, the indigenous ancestral home
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FFB Convent: like a maloca, the indigenous ancestral home


Public Space  /  Completed

The idea is the result of a long design process shared with the clients, aimed at creating a common alphabet, by diagrams, sketches, models and also just "concepts". During the design process we traveled to Brazil to understand the peculiarities of the environmental and social context, over Franciscan lifestyle and the rules that characterize it. A convent is a complex machine based on a wide functional program, that involves body, mind and soul. it needs spaces to welcome the local community and spaces for prayer and recollection. We wanted to create a building that would feel instantly familiar to the local community, accustomed to living in a highly degraded and often marginalized context, and at the same time enhance the climatic peculiarities of the tropical climate of the site.

The building is like a "maloca", the indigenous ancestral home. What is the convent if not a house for those who live there and for those who frequent them? The strong artisanal component, also deriving from the decision to use only local labour, gives the building a "familiar" and "easy to understand" appearance. The New Convent will welcome the local community by offering a place of suspension of conventional time and space, in a context where violence and degradation are the daily paradigm.

It is a passive building that uses natural ventilation to cool the rooms as it does not have mechanical ventilation systems. From a planimetric point of view, the building is fragmented and the number of green cloisters multiplied to allow the circulation of the wind. Every building take advantage of cross-ventilation and light, permeable walls made ob wooden brsie-soleil elements. All three buildings are protected by a large roof, detached frome the building envelope, which favors the escape of hot air, helping to maintain environmental comfort even in the hottest periods of the year. The use of photovoltaic panels for the production of electricity, hot water and the recovery of rainwater make the convent complex almost completely self-sufficient from an energy point of view.

Clima?c strategies, symbolic values and technological needs deriving from the socio-economic context have given life to the Convent's design. The planimetric fragmenta?on, obtained thanks to the inser?tion of the natural element of the green cloisters, recreates the urban complexity in the layout of the convent. Squares, avenues and changing dynamic points of view follow one each other in the alterna?tion between open and closed spaces. Each building maintains its own architectural iden?ty, obtained through the declina?on of the wooden element which some?mes has a bioclima?c functi?on, some?mes it is structure and cladding. The different degrees of permeability of the building envelope are emphasized when the convent is illuminated, giving rise to transparencies that change depending on the posi?tion of the observer.The binding of the various buildings is entrusted to the roofs. In the western part, a large roof protects the refectory, the church and the sacristy from the sun like a "sombrero". The same ploy is used in the building with the training rooms and the chapter house, as well as in the lodgings. The only emergence, which deliberately stands out from the rest of the building, is that of the library, a building suspended on four wooden pillars and clad in polycarbonate.

Friar Paolo Crivelli, superior general of the Franciscan Fraternity of Bethany, On the church of the convent: "This church is beautiful, because it is the house of the Lord. Beauty in the Convent, especially in a context like that of Salvador, is a sign of respect for the people who frequent the convent, it means that they have value, that they have the right to beauty, to something better".


 Salvador de Bahia
 5300 mq
 Cesare Querci e Maria Grazia Prencipe
 Cesare Querci, Maria Grazia Prencipe, Guido Di Croce
 Arkos Brasil
 Cesare Querci


The components graduated at the Faculty of Architecture of Rome "La Sapienza" enriching their academic and professional background with work experience in Italy and abroad. They participate in several international competitions. They combine professional practice with intensive research on contemporary city issues.
In 2012, architects Maria Grazia Prencipe(B.1983) and Cesare Querci(B.1982) founded Mixtura, an architectural and landscape firm that carries out its activities in the field of research and architectural design of contemporary space, in its formal, social and aesthetic meaning.
Mixtura combines the variables of each project providing the customers with a personalized design experience through participatory processes, sharing of ideas, sketches and study models in order to create highly iconic and taylor made architectures with particular attention to environmental, cultural and social sustainability.


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