Redesigning a Home for Dona Dalva

Vanessa Liwanag
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What started as a simple request from a son for the reconstruction of his mother’s house in the east of São Paulo, Brazil, turned out to be one of the most celebrated architectural designs this year.

The house, called Vila Matilde, has been the haven of Dona Dalva Borges Ramos, who at 74 is one of the oldest residents in the neighborhood, for many years. Ramos faced a big challenge in 2011, when her 25-year-old house started to show decay. Her son, Marcelo Ramos Borges, explained the situation in 2011 in an interview with Conselho de Arquitetura e Urbanismo do Brasil: “It rained both inside and outside… the fragile walls seemed to be made of sand alone, only with the paint peeling on top.”

The only option for Ramos was to move out and live in an apartment or building with stairs, which was not recommended for somebody of her age. She stayed in her home until 2013, when a piece of ceiling fell on her bed, and that was the point that her son Marcelo had to step up and ask help from design agency Terra e Tuma.

Relying on the assistance of three young design professionals from the firm that includes Danilo Terra, Pedro Tuma and Fernando Sakano, the project on rebuilding the house for Ramos finally began in 2013.

Courtesy of Terra e Tuma
Courtesy of Terra e Tuma

Dona Dalva Borges Ramos. Courtesy of Terra e Tuma

“Good natural lighting.” Courtesy of Terra e Tuma

Courtesy of Terra e Tuma

Courtesy of Zuppa Films

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