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Projects / Masterplanning


Project Information


Client: Fazenda Itahye

Site Location: São Paulo, Brasil  



Project Date: 2014

Project Status: Complete

The Itahye Farm, as it is known, covers area of about 1400ha, located in the municipalities of Santana de Parnaibaand Sao Paulo and is at a distance of approximately 30km from Praca da Se. The Itahe farm valleys are notable for the beauty and quality of its forests - composing superb natural heritage very close to Sao Paulo. In most other countries natural landscape of this quality would qualify as ‘ National Park ‘with full conservation status. However the urbanisation and development pressure generated by Itahe’s proximity to the 2nd largest city in Latin America requires a reconciliation between landscape and city.


Currently, the predominant land use is intended for rural activities, particularly livestock andforestry, but also of maintenance activities of native forests.

The area consists of 1,470 ha

Existing Context

Site Analysis

Sao Paulo climate keeps a very stable weather throughout the year. With anaverage temperature of 20°C each month. Humidity is quite high with 80% all year long. Rainfall is almost 5 times higher during the summer compared to the winter season. Wind speed averages 5 m/s per month. Not enough to produce energy, but good enough for ventilation strategies for thermal comfort. Solar radiation is very high, which gives 1,738 hours of sunshine throughout the year, an excellent opportunity for solar energy strategies.

Climate Analysis

The graph above represents 32% of total hours in a year, temperature in Sao Paulo varies in the thermal comfort range of 20°C to 24°C, during the summer from 10am to 4pm temperature varies from 24°C to 38°C and in winters 48% of total hours varies between 0°C to 20°C but not often under 15°C.

Overheating hours in summers can easily be controlled by unobstructed natural ventilation, long overhangs for shading and using heavy internal thermal mass; whereas cooling hours can easily be maintained by carefully designed passive standard (ZED standard) building envelope, maximised solar gain and heavy thermal mass.

These strategies will help eliminate a need to use mechanical heating and cooling.

This chart shows that humidity is mostly around 80% all year round. With temperature in the range of thermal comfort using passive strategies, 80% relative humidity will not have adverse effects on internal thermal comfort. Humidity can further be minimised to ideal comfort level using solar powered slurry ice cooling and dehumidification integrated with ventilation scheme, eliminating the need to use energy intensive air

Analyse internal & External elements of Itahye

The concept starts with an analysis of the natural landscape of Itahye and how to integrate it into the urban design.


The main idea is to develop habitable spaces blended with nature.

Topography Contour Design

Using higher grounds to respect the natural landscape while maximizing land value through optimal views to the natural landscape

Building Communities through Ecovillages

Each community will have a neighbourhood centre where most activites thrive 

Ecovillages Network + Cultural Heritage

Preserving the existing fazenda, transforming it into the centre of Itahye as a cultural centre

Pedestrian & Bicycle routes blended with nature

Electric transportation routes

Future transport connections to the existing urban fabric

Walkable distant from the edge of each community to the neighborhood centre

Masterplan Concept

1.Develop on higher grounds


2.Protect natural surrounding


3.Electric Transportation


4.Pedestrian & Bicycle routes


5.Walkable distant from neighborhodd centres


6.Neighbourhood centres for each community


7.Future transport connections to the urban fabric


8.Preserve existing buildings transforming it into Ithaye cultural centre

ZEDUrbanism - Conceptualisation

Each plot with views to green areas

Building both detached homes, terraces, commercial space and higher density off piled foundations without scraping the ground

Cross section through local village centre with commercial space and public square

All typologies are combined to join two village centres with minimal scraping of the landscape

ZEDmarket Energy Roof

Concept Masterplan

The red area shows the partof the site developed as first phase.

The plan to the right shows the concept masterplan as well as the right plan in more detail..

Initial Sketches

The first sketches show connections tothe existing area and the masterplan. The houses are designed around green open space areas. Also a “living wall” is proposed following the border of the site. The roads follow the slope of the terrain and are the basis for services.

Masterplan Concept Strategies

Potential area for future development like the creation of a district centre.

Low energy homes have a building integrated solar array and lithium battery store sufficient to meet its daily electric requirement.

All vehicles and pedestrians must pass through clear portal gateways that if necessary can easily have barriers fitted at some stage in the future, providing a clear security upgrade path.

The whole area shows 5.3ha of Ithaye the first and second phase of development is 1.5ha.


The proposal connects to the existing urban areas of the site. The road layout follows the terrain keeping the concept of building on higher grounds and on both side of the road.


Trails are integrated into the forest and the houses to be able to use the forest as leisure avoiding as much as possible to cut down trees.


Different typologies make up the plan, for different users. In terms of security at the border of the site a“living wall“ is proposed to avoid more land theft from the site.


The plan is well integrated into the previous masterplan concept.


There is one main road connecting from the existing urban areas into Itahye.

Connecting to existing area

Solar Masterplan

Typologies - T4 Detached Houses

Advance Typologies

The largest plots for the villas have plots of 24m x 16m, with a ground floor area of 250m. This typology is intended for larger detached homes.

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