sesc ouro preto

Conceptual study for the revitalization of Estalagem das Minas Gerais – SESC Ouro Preto.

The SESC Ouro Preto presents a dual potentiality resulting from its location. The first stems from the tourist destination it serves, the most important historical city of the Brazilian colonial period, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The second consists of its specific location, deeply connected to the natural landscape, allowing it to offer guests an experience beyond that of the historical city, adding a second layer of enjoyment to the tourist destination that associates nature and the mountainous landscape with the culture and history of human occupation in Ouro Preto. This dual experience, made possible only by the location of the facility, distinguishes qualitatively the SESC Ouro Preto from other lodging services in the city. For this reason, the first structuring concept guiding the entire proposed intervention is the emphasis on the valorization of the landscape as the protagonist element of the ensemble.

Considering that the history and culture of a past era cannot be reproduced but preserved, we argue that the defense of originality should be a second fundamental concept guiding the intervention proposal. Originality, not in the sense of what is new or different, but in the sense of recognizing and valuing origins. In this sense, reproducing formal and stylistic aspects of past architecture in the 21st century diminishes the value of that architecture, as it hinders the identification of original cultural and artistic manifestations in relation to copies. On the other hand, it misses the opportunity to offer a contemporary interpretation of a given place, using the best and most suitable materials, forms, and technologies to solve contemporary problems and provide the best accommodation conditions for users and the most economically, environmentally less impactful, and more sustainable operation. The origins of this special place where SESC Ouro Preto is located have their primary values in its geography, topography, vegetation, and natural landscape. The architecture that intervenes in this landscape must, to be worthy and consistent with the place’s value, be discreet, transparent, with minimal impact on modifying the landscape, and must enhance the experience of the landscape itself. These concepts form the basis of what is presented in the project.

Consolidating and complementing the above, some general principles that guided the project development were:

● Do the most with the least means, seeking to make the most of pre-existing structures, modernizing them to qualify and extend their future life;

● Integrate and standardize architectural solutions, construction types, materials and equipment to rationalize, simplify, and reduce operational and maintenance costs;

● Multiply and enhance the experience of visitors, both in hospitality and event areas, contributing to transforming the Unit into a significant destination in the regional tourism context;

● Rationalize and integrate related spaces and activities, reducing the demand for movements of both guests and the operation team, optimizing the team’s time, and equally reducing costs while enhancing the experience in both stay and travel spaces;

● Fully adapt collective use buildings to universal accessibility, considering accessible lodging units as well as common spaces and integrating the parts that constitute the main core of the complex, considering the use of electric cars for mobility between more distant parts;

● Provide all possible resources to reduce energy and water consumption in construction and use, to enhance the sustainability of the operation in environmental, economic, and consequently, social terms;

● Reuse, repurpose, recycle, and consequently reduce the environmental impact – inevitable – of waste generation. Structures and materials removed during space renewal are reused in various ways: foundations of demolished buildings and structural roof timbers are repurposed; roof rafters and purlins become new ventilated enclosures; wood removed from ceilings and paneling is recycled for furniture; quartzite floorings and wall coverings are carefully removed to be sawn into strips and recycled in the stacked cladding of lodging units in the forest; tiles and other ceramic materials are crushed and transformed into crushed stone for landscaping; steel from the removal of guardrails and other metal protection elements is sold for recycling. Even so, part of the construction waste resulting from the intervention may be destined – through further study – on-site, filling deep deck footings;

● Standardization of materials and minimum specifications for elements considered structural in the architectural solution, such as wall cladding, roofs, color palette, window frames, guardrails, toilets, among others;