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AMPHIBIO: A home for a fishermen's community by the mangrove - 3rd Year Design Studio

Authors: Emily Bezerra and Matheus Andrade Lima / Instructors: Ana Rolim & Dyego Digiandomenico

Catholic University of Pernambuco (UNICAP), Brazil

Under the Limoeiro Bridge in Recife, Brazil, life thrives amidst the mangroves. Historically a connection between Recife and Limoeiro, it now hosts various relationships: between professional and amateur fishermen, regional boat construction knowledge, and one of the last artisanal shipyards. Unfortunately, it also witnesses the accumulation of garbage, contrasting with the Capibaribe River's beauty.

This proposal addresses the need to physically shelter the fishermen's association, organizing their production cycle with storage facilities, a pier, walk-in freezer, changing rooms, accommodation, and a fish market. Integrated into the design are an artisanal shipyard and educational sector to teach boat construction techniques and research water depollution.

Inspired by amphibians and mangrove fauna, the design adopts a stilt typology, preserving the building regardless of tide conditions. Steel parts ensure load relief on foundations and facilitate assembly and disassembly, providing sustainability and adaptability.

The building's concept mirrors the mangrove's flora, rising for breath with free spans and a steel membrane envelope, promoting thermal comfort and panoramic views. Placed along the main pedestrian access street and river axis, two linear blocks house fishermen's needs and public spaces like a fish market and bar. A tensioned canvas, resembling boat sails, connects both volumes, protecting against water and sunlight while offering a view of the river from the large deck.

View from the river

Site conditions

Interpreting the site

Mapping main site elements

Form-generating diagrams

Site model with proposal positioned to privilege its relationship with the river

Main building components

View from main access at street level

The building skin is porous and cools the interior temperature

The patio and the connection between the two volumes

Roof plan

Overall aerial view

Longitudinal building section

Ground and 1st floor plans

Building cross sections

Overall view from access street

View from patio facing the river

View from patio facing the access street

Structural and building skin detail

View from patio towards main access

View from pier

View from bar on ground floor with void towards restaurant above

Shipyard on ground floor


View from 1st floor towards inner patio

View from pier

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