Brazilian villages are made up of dwellings constructed using materials purchased in cities, such as plaster, bricks, and metal. In the Amazon jungle, villagers build with a variety of materials available only in rural areas, including wood, clay, grass, and human excrement. The most common house types in the Brazilian Amazon include:
The churro, which is shaped like a flattened cylinder and has no windows or doors. It is built entirely from clay or mud and usually has one or two levels. The roof is often thatched with palm leaves or other vegetation.
The carijó is similar to the churro but has three or four walls and a floor made of wood or stone. There may be a thatch or shingle roof too.
The içá is a large round structure with a conical roof used for community meetings or special events. It can also be rented out by families who need more space than what their own homes offer.
Each village has an area designated for housing rats. These areas are called "blackbird towns" because the birds build their nests near these communities. The rats eat the insects that live in the trees and they provide food for humans when they're not being eaten themselves.
It's no surprise that you've ended up in this realistic home, as Brazilian architecture is often regarded as among the greatest in the world. It is composed of a variety of materials, including prefabricated concrete, steel, and bricks in white ceramic blocks. It may be little in size, but it is nonetheless a gorgeous home.
In fact, when American architect Carlos Ott built his own house in São Paulo, he also wanted it to be representative of Brazilian architecture. He chose a simple shape for its aesthetic appeal and because it was an easy structure to build. The house uses mainly pre-fabricated elements, which save on construction costs.
Brazil has some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, and it's not hard to see why so many people want to move to this new country. With a unique culture and architecture, there's plenty to explore.
A typical Peruvian Amazonian dwelling. It's worth noting that it's made entirely of materials discovered in the jungle. Many traditional Amazon River dwellings are built on rafts. The dwellings then rise and fall in tandem with the changing water levels caused by periodical flooding. When the water recedes, only the midden island is left as evidence of the former residence.
When the river dries up completely, the buildings can be moved to another location. They're then rebuilt using the same techniques, but this time on land.
This type of building is common in the lower Amazon River basin, but not everywhere. For example, large areas of South America other than the Amazon region are covered in dry grasslands where there are no trees or dense vegetation for building materials. However, most small villages do have a resident architect who uses whatever materials are available to construct new homes when old ones are abandoned.
Houses in the Brazilian Amazon are generally similar to those in Peru, but they tend to be slightly larger and sometimes include an upstairs area which would be used as storage space or as additional bedrooms.
In general, Amazonian houses follow a simple design: they consist of a single room with a low-slung roof called a "casita". Sometimes there is also a small patio attached to the house.
Three-fourths of all homes were built of bricks, adobe, mud, or stone; roughly 15% had wattle or daub external walls; 7% were wood, and 3% were largely cane. The quality of construction varied considerably, but on the whole, buildings were durable and lasted for many years.
The best-known house style is the colonial mansion, which can be seen in almost any large city. These grand residences usually have seven rooms, a central hallway, four-sided fireplaces, and large windows. They often have elaborate plasterwork, wooden beams, and ceramic tiles.
Other common house styles include the industrial townhouse, which features tall ceilings, an abundance of windows, and exposed brick or steel exterior walls; the simple concrete block house with no decorative elements; and the apartment building, which usually has only one floor and a front entrance area with internal doors leading to the unit's rooms.
In rural areas, most homes are one room deep with a thatched or tin roof and simple furniture. They often have no running water nor heat, but they are free of charge. People living in these "cabins" move into the city to find work as farmers leave for the coast during the summer months.
While individuals who live traditional lifestyles deep inside the jungle do not use contemporary technology or resources, those who live in places such as Rio de Janeiro enjoy a lifestyle similar to that of other cities across the world. The majority of people in the Amazon live in places that have been industrialized to some extent. In these areas, they practice agriculture and raise livestock, just like people in other parts of Brazil and in other countries.
Amazonians generally are not a wealthy population; many are very poor. But they are also not deprived of material goods, because many have access to electricity and most have mobile phones. They simply choose not to use these products because they want to be able to afford food, clothes, and education for their children.
In general, Amazonians are happy with their lives and believe they can improve their situation through education. However, many feel powerless against the demands of industrial loggers and gold miners who invade their land.
People in the Brazilian Amazon live under the threat of deforestation and intense pressure from mining companies. As you will see below, both factors are important in understanding how they're able to survive with such little effort needed.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, more than 50 percent of the forest has been lost due to logging and farming.
At first, only small patches were destroyed, but now large swaths have been cleared.