Cobogós: A Brief History and Its Uses

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:

Classics

Conjunto Residencial Prefeito Mendes de Moraes (Pedregulho) / Affonso Eduardo Reidy


Courtesy of Nabil Bonduki

Courtesy of Nabil Bonduki

Eduardo Guinle Park / Lucio Costa


© Nelson Kon

© Nelson Kon

New York Pavillion 1939 / Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer


Courtesey of Carlos Eduardo Comas, via ArqTexto magazine n.16

Courtesey of Carlos Eduardo Comas, via ArqTexto magazine n.16

Morumbi Residence / Oswaldo Bratke


Via Segawa and Dourado, 1997. Image © Chico Albuquerque

Via Segawa and Dourado, 1997. Image © Chico Albuquerque

Brazilian Architecture

Cobogó House / Marcio Kogan

* 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.


© Nelson Kon

© Nelson Kon

B+B House / Studio MK27 – Marcio Kogan + Renata Furlanetto + Galeria Arquitetos


© Fernando Guerra | FG+SG

© Fernando Guerra | FG+SG

Casa Jardins / CR2 Arquitetura


© Fran Parente

© Fran Parente

FDE Public School / FGMF Arquitetos


Courtesy of FGMF

Courtesy of FGMF

CHB Campinas F1 State School / MMBB Arquitetos


© Nelson Kon

© Nelson Kon

International Architecture

Los Limoneros / Gus Wüstemann


© Bruno Helbling

© Bruno Helbling

Disfrutar Restaurant / El Equipo Creativo


© Adrià Goula

© Adrià Goula

Binh Thanh House / Vo Trong Nghia Architects + Sanuki + Nishizawa architects


© Hiroyuki Oki

© Hiroyuki Oki

La Tallera / Frida Escobedo


© Rafael Gamo

© Rafael Gamo

Other Elements

Casa Los Algarrobos / MasFernandez Arquitectos + Claudio Tapia


© Nico Saieh

© Nico Saieh

Triana Ceramic Museum / AF6 Arquitectos


© Jesús Granada

© Jesús Granada

Casa VA / SuperLimão Studio


© Maíra Acayaba

© Maíra Acayaba

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