House of the Brejo dos Padres Estate
Caetité, Bahia, Brazil
The land around Serra Geral pertained from the 17th century on to the land grant of the Guedes de Brito family, the wealthy owners of the Casa da Ponte and important cattle breeders. Caetité developed in the following century after gold was discovered in Salvador; it became an obligatory resting stop on the road linking Minas Gerais to Chapada Diamantina. The main building of the Brejo dos Padres Estate is located on a small rise set amid rolling hills and does not enjoy legal protection, despite being a unique example of rural constructions from that period. Its virtually square floor plan with hipped roof includes three verandas built into the body of the construction. At the back, the familiar puxado – an enlarge- ment flanked by a veranda and covered by a hipped roof houses the kitchen on the main floor and storage space on the ground floor. The façade features small square windows and a wraparound veranda modulated by wooden posts. Most bays have a straight lintel; a depressed arch is used to emphasise the hierarchy of the main access and the twin doors of the living-room. This kind of construction is unusual in Bahia and is more similar to the layout of houses pertaining to 17th-century sugar mills in Pernambuco, their design based on houses in mountainous areas of northern Portugal. It nonetheless differs from the latter due to the material used, enhanced access and ample programme, which includes several verandas, an inside staircase and a small chapel overlooking the side veranda.