“Oca do Curumin” – Children’s area




built geodesic zome domeBackground
During July and August 2016 we returned to Brazil to continue our collaboration with different initiatives, following already started works and opening new fields.

Our permanence coincided with winter’s holidays, during which many children enroll and participate in the programs proposed by the SESC.
The SESC (Social Service of Commerce) are centers where a strong cultural and educational project with innovation initiatives and social transformation unfolds, since its inception in 1946.

The SESC of Piracicaba (São Paulo) aspired to have a “Oca do Curumin”, name that identify a space directed to games and the development of children aimed programs and activities. In this region the months of July and August are usually the coldest of the year and they do not have significant amounts of rainfall. Despite that selfbuilt zome geodesic domedaytime solar radiation maintains a certain intensity and temperatures can be around 25 degrees so they had the need for a shaded space for some of the activities of their outdoor children’s program.

We were offered the possibility of building an equipment, the budget was quite limited and it had to be ready in just one week. We accept the challenge convinced of the possibility not only to fulfill the assigned program, but also to provide added values to the initial proposal. At the same time we were very motivated by the opportunity to advance our researches and prove lowtech, quick and easy implementation models ans constructive systems.

Self construction building geodesic workshop

Design and concept
We were asked to provide a “child size” design that could stimulate their fantasy and imagination.

We opted for the creation, not only of a covered space, but of an interior space, bounded and divided from the outside, that children might perceive as their “house”, their “fortress”, elements that naturally attracts their attention, stimulates fantasy and invites to play. Door and windows height would be located according with their height, seats adapted to their measures. Adults will have to adapt to use the equipment, thus reinforcing children ‘s sense of belonging around the space.

The circular spaces naturally promote dialog and interaction, we chose an easy to implement and aesthetically appealing zonoedric geometry. In addition, our experience with the system safety allowed us to have geodesic zome meditation yoga mandala space architecture ctrl+zcompleted its construction within the extremely limited available timeframe.

The equipment had to be implemented with an easily removable architecture as its maximum permanence in the square was set at six months, in addition we where not allowed to perforate the floor to anchor the structure, so we had to set up another solution to ensure its stability.

For the structure we decided to use bamboo a lightweight, durable, natural material that had already given us in past satisfying results, besides being a local material. But we needed a solid and heavy enough base so that the wind could blow away our light fabric covered structure.

For its construction we where inspired by parklets, open to the public’s use mobile and temporary facilities that are installed in parking lots and that are often built from pallets. Building with pallets provided us a quick assembly because it is prefabricated, ready to use, André also had experience in the design and use of this technology. Pallets were not only used as ballast, but also as a design element to place the equipment in the square and as a functional element around Zome creating small spaces to sit and walk for children’s happiness. Bamboo and pallets were sanded and prepared so that children could touch them safely.

For the structure’s enclosure we choose a fabric that’s opaque from close range, while it presents a degree of transparency from the distance, which allows children to play undisturbed in their “harborage” while adults watch what happens inside. In addition small windows as an element of play and control were introduced. At the top a sun-shaped skylight is implemented, two different fabric colors were used to enhance this design and the other openings ones, thus making it more attractive for the children.

Once covered with the fabric the double spiral structure drawing will be visible only from the inside, contributing to the duality in the perception of interior and exterior spaces. Without any doubt the spacial and functional produced program went beyond the initial requirements, however it has been carried out within the economic and the temporal established frameworks.

Once completed the “Oca do Curumin” program monitors immediately took over the space with the installation, of a circular rug in the center and a few “puffs” on the inside perimeter.
The permanence of the structure in the square is limited to six months.
Upon completion of this term it will be studied with the SESC either if move it to another space inside the center or donate it to a social initiative that could give it a new use.

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bamboo geodesic structures
This project has enabled us to close the circle begun with “the Tree” built in the Huerta del Rey Moro in Seville and the prototype built duting the Escala Local workshop in Málaga, whose pieces once removed were used to complete the spherical geometry of the Jaula Abierta’s greenhouse. With the “Oca do Curumin” finally were able to implement a Zome, albeit temporary, complete equipment from start to finish.

This experience has also allowed us to improve in the use of bamboo and in the zonohedron based structures self-building with lowtech systems and untrained personnel.

From long time we wanted to work with pallets as construction element for building public spaces. We’d used them unassembled, but never as they are. The experience has been very positive and we will certainly use this technique again in future.

Gianluca Stasi architect Children parklet

Future and development
Once again Zomes shown that they are easy to assembly and their potential to set fascinating spaces, for all that we hope to have soon the chance to build a wooden one and consolidate it to configure a durable living space.

The Zomes form circular spaces without intermediate and the geometric design of their structure is a decorative element itself for this reason and for other properties, Zome are perfect for meetings or activities as yoga or meditation.

The Assembly has counted with the collaboration of:
Nicolau Jr., Tiago Giannetti, Carmen Blanco y Célia Carlin
and the help of: Gabriel Zena, Gabriel Araújo, Giancarlo Vitti, Larissa Blanco, Lucca Rolim y Samira Miguel.
(Photos by Tiago Giannetti and Ctrl+Z)

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