The history and importance of Cobogós

How breeze blocks developed in Brazil

By Clay Imports

When you try to imagine a breeze block, chances are that you imagine a big, concrete block designed for construction. Building blocks are one of the most reliable construction materials, but when it comes to design, you don’t have to get stuck with a big, gray square; there are many different types of building blocks, like our terracotta breeze blocks. When it comes to creating an harmonious blend of functionality and aesthetics this choice of breeze block is a favorite for amateurs and experts alike.

These decorative perforated blocks have not only stood the test of time but have also left an indelible mark on architectural history. In this article, we will discuss what cobogó means, their relationship to Middle Eastern and Asian breezeway designs, their relevance in contemporary architecture, and how our clay breeze blocks pay homage to this iconic design element.

What is Cobogos

Posted on Wikimedia Commons

The History of Cobogós

Cobogós (pronounced "koh-boh-gohs,") originated in Brazil in the early 20th century. They were conceptualized by three architects and their name is a combination of the architects’ last names: Amadeu Coimbra (Portugal), Ernest Boeckmann (Germany), and Antônio de is (Brazil).

Initially, cobogós were typically made of man-made cement and born out of the need for privacy, ventilation, and light. They were a cheap and effective way to create a fresh and cool environment into houses in the tropical Brazilian climate. But in the 50’s, architects in the “West” realized its aesthetic sense and began to implement it as a decorative element in almost every environment.

What is Cobogo

Cobogós and Middle Eastern & Asian Breezeway Designs

Even though they were created in Brazil, the influence for cobogós can be traced back to Middle Eastern and Asian breezeway designs. These breezeways, called Muxarabi, consist of a wooden lattice installed on the balconies and windows of houses and are a traditional element of Arab architecture. The intricate lattice work and geometric patterns found in cobogós bear a striking resemblance to the delicate screens and intricate stonework commonly seen in these muxarabis. Additionally, stacking clay bricks has been a technique for centuries to create breezeway designs in hotter climates.

In these regions, such architectural features are not just practical; they also play a significant cultural and aesthetic role, connecting buildings to their surroundings and creating captivating plays of light and shadow.

Breeze block interior wall

Installation and photo by Kreuzer Tile

Cobogós: the contemporary breeze block

After being in disuse for a couple of decades, the idea of cobogós has transcended time and geography to become a hallmark of contemporary breeze block design and one of the most compelling trends in design in 2023 and 2024. We can find them on facades, as a room divider, for the dividing walls of swimming pools and patios, in industrial buildings, schools and playgrounds and in neighborhood common areas. But one of our favorite uses for breeze blocks is indoors. Our terracotta breeze blocks offer a distinctive touch and are a trend in interior design.

Architects and designers worldwide have experimented and mastered  the versatility and beauty of these blocks in modern contexts. Contemporary breeze blocks, inspired by cobogós, now come in various shapes, sizes, and patterns, offering endless possibilities for creative architectural expression.

What is Cobogo?

Posted on Flickr as Cobogó | Photo by Matheus Hidalgo

Of course, material options have also diversified. Our clay breeze blocks proudly carry forward this historical piece of architecture, paying homage to the elegance and functionality of cobogós. Crafted with precision and care. They not only provide excellent ventilation and privacy but also showcase intricate designs inspired by cobogós and add a touch of sophistication to any architectural project.

At Clay Imports, our breeze blocks are handmade, just like all our terracotta products. Handmade tiles and breeze blocks exhibit natural variations, which are inherent traits of natural materials like Terracotta. These variations in color, texture and sheen are not defects but rather a natural part of the product. We highly recommend ordering samples before making a final purchase to confirm and appreciate these natural variations in each tile.
Finally, as tile experts, we truly understand the importance of taking good care of your breeze blocks. That's why we recommend taking a look at our Clay Care products. These maintenance items have been carefully tested with our products, and they are designed to preserve your tiles' beauty, ensuring their longevity and durability. From sealers to cleaners, purchasing these maintenance items together with your tiles not only simplifies your order but also prepares you to enjoy your tiles for a long time.

As you can see, cobogó blocks have a rich history deeply rooted in Brazilian modernist architecture connecting with Middle Eastern and Asian architectural traditions, and their influence has extended far beyond the borders of the Amazonian jungle. Today, cobogós continue to shape contemporary breeze blocks designs, including our own clay breeze blocks collection, and they are a reliable option to transform any space. And remember, if you have any questions or require more information, don't hesitate to reach out to us at