Casa Circular #1: atelier Sao Paulo

Casa Circular is a building designed for circular economy and inspired by cradle to cradle design framework. There are many differences between this type of construction and traditional ones, but what definitely differentiates these models is the question: “what’s next?”. For that, all used resources are able to circulate safely and healthy for nature and humans.

Furthermore, in circular economy, buildings are understood as material banks. For that, each material should be able to be reinserted in further cycles. They can be used for other constructions (assembly and disassembly), for the building’s enlargements or reductions, or they can be even transformed into new products.

Casa Circular first prototype is an artist’s atelier of 30m2. It was assembled in São Paulo city, Brazil. While the architects see a long way for the Brazilian industry to produce building materials that completely meet the values of circular design, they believe continuous improvements seem to be necessary and urgent. Hence, the atelier has been seen as a starting point. They have searched materials and systems currently available in the Brazilian market that would better attend the presented criteria. They decided to use woodframe panels and modular and prefabricated components for the construction technique. At the same time they follow the criteria described, they allow the buildings’ customization for further uses. 

In addition, they adopted the use of maximum natural lighting and fresh air  extensively. Also, they designed vertical openings (doors and windows) along with zeniths (sheds/light tubes in the ceiling) for indirect lighting. These openings also function as a chimney system for hot air, which naturally rises by the thermodynamic arrangement of the building. As a result, this system creates a kind of natural air conditioning. Rainwater is harvested and the effluent is treated through a banana tree circle, planted next to the building. The banana tree circle itself filters the water again, which can safely return to the system.

The strong word for circular design is “recyclable” rather than “recycled.” Still, they applied reused materials in the building. Therefore, the foundation of the house is made of used tires and gravel, and the external closures are made of wood, which was firstly used as concrete molds in another construction site. 

Moreover, in this type of construction, planning is essential for continuous optimization of the resources involved. There were 3 months for the design and planning phase, 15 days for pre-production and only 10 days for assembly the building. The construction was fast, with clear deadlines and pre-defined cost. As a result, there was no waste produced in-loco, and consequently no need for waste container. Besides, the building can be disassembled and reassembled in another location.

This project is the result of of the architects’ continuous search for an alternative to the way we have inhabited the planet. The exercise was to think constructions beyond their form and function, understanding them as places that should be healthy, circular and effective. For them, this is a path to a future of abundance rather than scarcity.

See what media is saying about us:

UOL – A casa com vida infinita

Archdaily – Casa Circular: arquitetas projetam atelier baseado na economia circular e princípios de sustentabilidade

Ideia Circular – Casa circular mostra na prática o que é um edifício circular

Átomo: Em harmonia com o meio ambiente

QuickScan Cradle to Cradle®

Natura initiated a QuickScan project of one of its products. QuickScan provides preliminary information on the potential Cradle to Cradle® and recommendations for the next steps towards optimization or certification in accordance to the international certification program Cradle to Cradle CertifiedTM for products.

A rising number of designers and manufacturers – along with a significant growth in the number of conscious consumers – are establishing new expectations for product quality. New issues should be addressed in a design project: products are not only judged for their aesthetics or functionality, but also for their impact on the environment and on the health of people, and for its ability to be reused in a circular economy – and the QuickScan is the first step towards this direction.

Award: Ensaios Urbanos National Competition

The design proposal for transformations in São Paulos’s Zoning Law was awarded by the Brazilian Institute of Architects – Sao Paulo and the Municipality of São Paulo – Urban Development Secretary in the national competition “Ensaios Urbanos: Designs for São Paulo Zoning”. The study was carried out and co-authored by Léa Gejer, Taícia Marques, Paula Dedecca, Gabriela Ortega, Laura Figueiredo and Bia Crocco.

Our proposal addresses urban corridors as catalysts for environmental, economic and social development through the integration of transport, green and built-up areas, and public spaces. Three design layers were thought of: flows, infrastructure and environment. The urban corridors work as radiators for a new urban design and landscape, which creates identity for the city. Besides, the design discusses the treatment of urban blocks instead of individual plots, in contrast to the existing city’s legislation.

Impulse Project

Impulse Project was one of the finalists in the last stages of the Arc Tiete project – Municipality of São Paulo/ Urban Development Secretary. Flock has coordinated and designed an interdisciplinary group of professionals – the Impulse Collective – aiming at the development of the pre-feasibility study of the Arc Tiete, an area of 6,000ha along the river floodplain.

In two months, we prepared a conceptual draft and a proposal for the territory. We presented studies for the next 32 years (2013- 2045) for the area’s development. The urban transformation is based on four themes: urban modeling, legal modeling, economic studies, and social and institutional interaction.


The concept of the project is based on the Tiete River’s history. Tiete is originally a meandering river that used to pulse while cutting the city’s territory. The river was alive and closely connected to Sao Paulo and its citizens. The river died when it was rectified and channeled in the 40’s, and became a physical and social barrier, that divides the northern and southern shores. In 2013, Tiete River is only remembered for its floods, pollution and damages.

The Impulse Project considers Tiete River as an instrument for the re-articulation of social, environmental and economic relations in the territory of Tiete Arc, bringing the river back to Sao Paulo’s citizens.

Click here for the complete project:



Flock was invited to set strategies on sustainability issues for the proposal from JMN Architects for the national competition for the headquarters building project of FATMA (Environment Foundation of Santa Catarina) and FAPESC (Foundation for Research and Innovation Santa Catarina), located in Florianópolis- SC- Brazil.

The Cradle to Cradle® methodology was embraced to ensure the closure of water, energy and material cycles, and to prioritize the encouragement of diversity in the building and its surroundings. Three steps were followed for each cycle: (1) reduction in demand, (2) Reuse flows on site and (3) use of renewable sources and generation of food to the surroundings.

An educational path to sustainability was also designed, in which the visitor would be guided through all the stages of the water, energy and material cycles. During this track the main strategies used for creating a building’s circular metabolism would be explained and demonstrated.




Jack in the Valley

Jack in the Valley proposal was co-authored by Léa Gejer, Taícia Marques and Antonio Fabiano Jr. and submitted to the international competition Transiting Cities, sponsored by RMIT Universty in partnership with state government agencies in Victoria and Latrobe City in Australia. The goal was to create sustainable alternatives in the short, medium and long terms for Latrobe Valley’s transition to become CO2 neutral. The valley is the largest coal producer in Australia and responsible for supplying 85% of the energy in the state of Victoria. A transition does not impact only on energy issues, but also on the economy, politics and society.

Therefore, tools are proposed for a successful development of this process. The transition would be developed through the application of 07 strategies: energy, water, transportation, community, innovation, nature and food.

The strategy of transition would generate the promotion of stronger communities, the increase of knowledge and the development of new technologies, research centers and universities. The idea is that the new design should come up through a multi-stakeholders process based on the idea that cities and landscapes are self-organizing systems that changes upon time.