In the tropics, the sunlight falls generously. The leaked elements draw the shadow on floors and walls, an effect that transforms the entire environment for those who see it from the outside and inside. With the changing seasons and throughout the course of the day, natural light comes in different ways as it adds new components to architecture. In the course of the night, the artificial light passes through the small openings from the inside to the outside, making a sort of urban lamp that interacts with the shadows of its users and furniture.
In addition to its function, the cobogó brings a certain poetic feel to any architectural project. Here, we have highlighted this Brazilian creation, to briefly shed light on its history and to present a selection of projects that adopt this element.
A group of engineers – Portuguese Amadeu Oliveira Coimbra, German Ernesto August Boeckmann and Brazilian Antônio de Góis – were the creators of the “cobogó”, an element that allows the entrance of sunlight and natural ventilation used in construction openings.
The cobogó appeared in the 1920s, in Recife, and its name come from the combination of the first syllable of the last names of their creators. They are an inheritance of Arab culture, based on muxarabis – built in wood, were used to partially close the internal environments.
Despite being created in Recife, the cobogó was spread by Lúcio Costa in subtle references to colonial architecture, becoming a compositional element present in the aesthetics of modern Brazilian architecture. Despite the visual permeability, cobogós, in a way, bring privacy to the user. Made of concrete and brick at the beginning, they began to be produced also in ceramics and other different materials.
Following, are some selected projects which adopt the use of cobogó:
* In this case it is an entire panel, which is not made by modules like the traditional Brazilian cobogós. This is one of the first results obtained from the series of modular panels “Continua”, created by Erwin Hauer and elaborated through digital means, including CATIA software, developed by Gehry Technologies.