Masterplan and Viability Study of Muhda Institute


Design principles inspired by permaculture

The Mudha Institute originates in Florianópolis and is a multidisciplinary project that involves various agencies. The Institute’s directives are food sovereignty, guaranty of health and education, support of vulnerable populations of the metropolitan region of Florianópolis, sustainability and the promotion of art and culture. Organized into different systems and organizations, the Institute has the objective to bring action in support of socio-environmental, indigenous, quilombolas (descendants of escaped Afro-Brazilian slaves) and feminist causes, among others.

The preliminary masterplan aimed to develop a plan for implementation of the Institute’s headquarters and other spaces to carry out activities, in addition to public visitation spaces for learning about efforts and project pillars.

The Project area is located on the island of Florianópolis, in the Ribeirão da Ilha district. With a total area over 80.000 m², the Institute is easy to access and is close to the Florianópolis Hercílio Luz International Airport as well as a few tourist attraction of the island, such as the gastronomic region of Ribeirão da Ilha, and the access trail to Naufragados Beach.

The approach to the study is inspired by the principles of permaculture design and begins with a holistic understanding of the land area, where a balanced integration of all elements is sought. The work was divided into two stages. The first was a diagnostic of the context and extensive investigation of construction techniques, materials, and project references to form a robust benchmarking of inspiration and technical resources. In the second stage, a site analysis was conducted, which led to a set of masterplan guidelines and the design with a two-phase implementation.

Through the development of this work, various meetings were held with members of the Institute. Dealing with a project of such complexity and many involved variables, solutions that could be adapted to different configurations and demands were sought after.

The implementation site had various potentials, such as a beautiful view of the bay and surrounding landscape and natural areas where it is possible to carryout environmental education and ecotourism activities, in addition to the potential of the abundance of water, north eastern winds and northern sun (optimal condition for agroforestry proposed in the zone). In parallel, there are certain challenges, mainly related to legal and environmental aspects of the area, restricting some initial ideas for use.

The diagnostic combined with exchange of information and ongoing conversations with the Institute led to a consolidated program of uses. The aim is for the area to function as a cultural showcase, educating on the actions and operations of the Institute and offering a first introduction to their pillars in an engaging and pleasant environment.

The zoning of permaculture was used a distribution strategy for uses in the area, with the aim of positioning them according to their suitability, strengths and weaknesses, in addition to seeking synergies between them.

legend: 1) restaurant/preparation of packed lunches; 2) parking; 3) headquarters/visitors center/store/depot; 4) team house; 5) garage; 6) residences and gardens
legend: 7) cafe/restaurant/multi-purpose rooms /recording studio; 8) Chicken coop; 9) vegetable garden; 10) compost; 11) fish tank; 12) bee hives 13) amphitheater; 14) stage; 15) zen/fit/coexistence; 16) depot; 17) workshop; 18) lake; 19) photovoltaic system; 20) camping/glamping; 21) toilets/showers; 22) agroforestry plots.
legend: 22) agroforestry plots; 23) outdoor museum; 24) treetop and adventure activities; 25) trails; 26) zipline.

Based on the zoning, a site masterplan was created, which was divided in three parts. First, the access area with a reception building for visitors, the administrative headquarters of the Institute, residences and a small-scale agroforestry garden in addition to the existing restaurants for the production and distribution of donated packed lunches. The second section forms the heart of the institute with areas for various activities such as a stage, leisure spaces, restaurant/cafe in addition to a camping area, support buildings, outdoor museum, photovoltaic system and agroforestry plots. The final section contains activities aimed at ecotourism and contemplation such as trails, treetop activities, zip-lines and an outdoor museum.