Beyond borders

sauermartins is an architecture practice founded by Cássio Sauer and Elisa T Martins, based in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The office develops projects in several scales and programmes, regarding architecture as an instrument able to transform realities. The work is associated with investigative methods combining models, drawings, texts, analog photographs, and the actual construction process, thus perceived as an opportunity for learning and experimentation.

Porto, São Paulo and Santiago

We met during university and have been working together since. after living in Porto, São Paulo, and Santiago de Chile and having previous experiences in very different contexts – including collaborations with elemental, Alvaro Siza, and Paulo Mendes da Rocha – we started our practice in 2013, the same year we won a national competition for the USP Law Faculty Library. Since then, we have been exploring work possibilities also relating the design process with our academic research, aiming for a continuous intersection between practice and academia.

Beyond borders

Being located in the southern and colder region of a tropical country – renowned for its open and fluid architecture – we are immersed in a particular setting that we are constantly trying to understand through our work. From Porto Alegre, our cultural relations and landscape references are closer to a latin american context. We find ourselves within a radius of 1000 km distance from São Paulo (BR), Buenos Aires (AR), Montevideo (UY), and Asunción (PY), a continuous territory that connects and identifies the southern part of the american continent, marked by similar environmental conditions and the scarcity of resources.

Projects, commissions, and clients

Since we are a small office and we haven’t specialised in any scope of work. We mainly receive commissions through competitions and private clients that usually represent small-scale projects. Even though they are a challenging exercise, we understand competitions as a unique opportunity to access a more diverse practice that allowed us to develop public equipment and urban projects and also to build two ephemeral pavilions, the ‘observatorio del campo y de las estrellas’, in the middle of rural fields in argentina, and the ‘pabellón concéntrico’, located at the edge of the historic centre of Logroño, in Spain.

Learning from the vernacular

Since the beginning of our practice, we realised that the project feasibility was essentially linked with the construction site, a precarious and challenging context that also represented an opportunity to learn from traditional methods and vernacular strategies, proposing a study of a possible dialogue between the artisanal and the contemporary in architecture. During the first projects, the office was able to coordinate all designing and construction phases and processes. Through construction, we have been able to learn and explore different methods and techniques, taking into consideration the constraints related to the surrounding territory, materials, labour, and the scarcity of monetary resources and technology.

Photography Carine wallauer (1), Pedro Kok (2, 3, 5), Josema Cutillas (4), Cássio Sauer (6)

LANZA Atelier Davidson Rafailidis Architecture BRIO Studio GROSS Oficina Bravo Emerging European Practices (2022) The New Raw NOTAN OFFICE

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