This stunning weekend house was designed by architecture studio SPBR, as a retreat in the city centered around a pool, garden and solarium, located in São Paulo, Brazil. Completed in 2013, this 1,969 square foot (183 square meters) modern property features a rooftop swimming pool to capture the heat of the sun, gardens to soften the hardscape and a solarium to avoid the shade from the closely-packed neighboring residences.
Dug into the air – a swimming pool in Sao Paulo. Clouds, drizzle, rain, snow or hail, in all its physical states water is related to sky. However, if we are requested to think about a [swimming] pool, our imagination automatically starts to dig into the ground. Seas, lakes, and ponds explain the reason we react in that direction: essentially, a pool feels like a piece of a lake. It makes sense, the image corresponds to the word, water that rests smoothly on the ground. Water defines the surface.
But if I mention a specific type of pool, a water tank or a water tower, we first imagine an elevated volume of water, a pool detached from the ground level. In this case, hydrostatic pressure is a requirement to fulfill pipes, to supply water. Water level holds a potential possibility.
While walking on the ground,we could ask: where is the surface? In the specific sense of the word, surface has no layers or thickness. However, if one walks in a city like São Paulo [or New York], the ground level does not correspond to the surface anymore. There are some pieces of the ground that haven’t been touched by the sunlight for decades since buildings have permanently shaded them.
In this specific site, the neighborhood’s average height is defined by the zoning code: 6 m high. No side setbacks are required. The east neighbor building shades our site the entire morning until noon, when the west neighbor building starts to shade it for the whole afternoon. Therefore, if there is a pool to be built, exposed to the sunlight the whole day, it is crucial to define its surface: six meters above the ground level.
The assumption here is like to swim in a water tower and to enjoy that potential as a design possibility. One more water ‘state’ related to the sky of São Paulo.
A WEEKEND HOUSE IN THE CITY
São Paulo is a metropolis of 20 million people. It is approximately one hour from the coast. Because of severe traffic jams, its inhabitants spend hours commuting every day. On weekends, especially in the summer, hundreds of thousands drive to the beach causing jams on the roads as well.
In order to avoid being stuck in traffic during weekends, we received an unexpected but rather logical demand as a counterflow action: a weekend house in downtown São Paulo.
As an anti-FAR [floor area ratio] approach, a swimming pool, a solarium and a garden are the main elements of this project. In a properly inverted hierarchy, everything else on this program is complementary: a bedroom, a small apartment for a caretaker, and a space to cook and receive friends.
The site is very central, between an arterial avenue, Avenida Faria Lima, and a metropolitan infrastructural axis [road and railway] built on the Pinheiros river shore. Also, the site is exactly under the airport conical zone, meaning all flights coming from Rio de Janeiro fly over the site about each 7 minutes.
Pool and solarium were displayed as parallel volumes. Two columns were located in the 1 m wide gap between them. The 12 m span is faced on one side by beams supporting the pool and on the other by beams that support the solarium and also hang the floor underneath. Structurally, the mass of the pool counterweights the volume which holds inhabited spaces. In other words, water is balanced by the beach.
The ground level was kept free from any construction in order to achieve the maximum garden area ratio. As a result there are three different layers or three levels for three different moods: ground level [garden – introspective or encompassed by the site limits], apartment level [the only indoor space floating above the ground and underneath the pool], and rooftop [swimming pool and solarium, an extroverted or panoramic space].
This building and its program differs from the focus of traditional architectural projects in two ways: the metropolis becomes a possible place to stay and enjoy during the weekends and elements generally considered secondary in a big house become fundamental components.
Photos: Nelson Kon
Real Parque Loft was designed for a recently married young entrepreneur by Diego Revollo Arquitetura, located in the south zone from São Paulo, Brazil, in a strictly residential buildings neighborhood. The buildings were built in the 80 and 90 decade and for this reason, the architects started from a traditional compartmentalized apartment with exaggerated number of divisions and closed rooms related to its area.
The main challenge was to open the 1,130 square foot (105 square meters) space, bring the sense of amplitude within the existing structural limitations. In this sense, the owner, was willing for profound changes and already felt attracted by the spatial characteristics of lofts as well as the contemporary aesthetic common in these cases.
The idea of a box with just a coating, burned cement, would bring the contemporary aspect and look like “clean” without amendments or interruptions and would be applied on all surfaces such as floors, walls and ceilings. A particular care has been taken into account in choosing the gray’s tone, which should be modern but not too cold and close by the natural cement’s tone. In the baths we used for the slabs the natural Oasis Blue limestone with a similar tone of cement, employed only as an alternative to cement, to be more appropriate for slabs and carved sinks.
For the owner a cold or too modern result wouldn’t please him, he searched an elegant atmosphere but also comfortable an “hot”. The suggestion of the office was the alliance of the cement and the natural wood inn a reddish chestnut brown tone to “heat up” the environment and that would add value in decorative point of view.
In some places such as the entrance, dining bench and the balcony seat, the Cumaru wood, a Brazilian’s hardwood with high resistance was used by rules to make the wood “weigh” even more. Where the use of solid wood wasn’t viable either by weight or by the natural movement, we chose for the Pau Ferro sheet, a wood with enough personality and a similar design to the Jacarandá, one of the main wood used in furniture production peak in Brazil in the 50 and 60 decade, for example.
The furniture and interior design continues with the choice of textiles as the natural linen or the distressed leather and prioritizes the warm touch and comfort always against the coldness of the cement box. The end result is a loft without excesses, spacious and extremely pleasant to live.
Photos: Alain Brugier
TB House is a single story private residence designed by Aguirre Arquitetura, located on a spacious site within the gated community of Condominio Fechado Vila do Sol, in Uberlandia, Brazil. The layout of this one-story 9,472 square foot (880 square meters) plan has resulted in a functional design with a harmonious distribution of the living areas, with the emphasis on privacy.
The private quarters, which consist of three suites and an office, face east, meaning that they receive the morning sun and are protected from the afternoon sun. The living/reception spaces – which include a cinema room, living room, dining room and terrace – face south so that they avoid direct exposure to the sun and are thus cooler. The service area faces north and west.
In the front facade the garage’s suspended concrete slab (49 feet) provides shelter for five cars. The entrance portico is in concrete, which also covers the entrance hallway leading to the main body of the residence. The hallway is separated from the garden on one side by a glass wall, allowing light to enter the entrance hall and the corridor leading to the sleeping quarters.
A ribbed cumaru wood panel conceals the floor-to-ceiling front door. To take advantage of the natural slope of the land, a fruit tree grove was created at the lower level. This means that the bedroom volume facing the grove is suspended above it.
As the clients like water features, a pond was designed at the lower level featuring concrete walkways supported by central pillars that look as if they are floating.
The pool is 69 feet long and clad in travertine marble. As the marble is a light color the color of the water is not affected. The pool is 60 centimeters above the ground and features an infinity edge on all sides.
Taking advantage of the living room facing south, a generous ceiling height was given of 5 meters, with sliding glass doors along the whole window span opening up the room to the exterior. A winter garden was also added and the idea of the sliding doors was repeated here. The living room is thus opened up on two sides, providing cross ventilation and a greater sense of freedom. The living room volume was covered externally in stone, contrasting with the other white blocks.
The 55-foot wide terrace is a continuation of the living room, stretching the length of the room and allowing for total integration of the ambiances. It serves as a transition area to the garden and swimming pool. The client loves to cook, so the terrace also features a gourmet kitchen block with worktop, cooker, oven, barbecue grill, and fridge-freezer that is ideal for get-togethers with family and friends.
All detailing, both in the interior and exterior, was designed to give continuity to the architectural proposal, i.e. clean, uniform lines with the emphasis on lightness and extreme elegance in the definition of the materials. This is evidence both in the choice of the materials (travertine in all living/reception areas and the exterior and wood in the private quarters) and in their application.
The interior decoration work in general follows the architectural proposal, combining furniture pieces with extremely clean lines with the works of art and other cherished objects in the possession of the clients. The aim was to integrate these elements and achieve the desired aesthetic effect without affecting the clients’ comfort.
Photos: Courtesy of Aguirre Arquitetura
Nova Lima House has been designed by Saraiva + Associados, offering luxury and exuberance, the house is located in Nova Lima, 22 km from Belo Horizonte, capital of Minas Gerais, Brazil. Completed in 2011, this property is comprised of 43,056 square feet (4,000 square meters) of living space.
The project was developed by S+A Brazil, under the leadership of Architect Marcelo Montoro, and in partnership with Piantina Architecture, responsible for the interior design project.
The house is divided in four distinct blocks, interconnected through a special steel material, coated with reflective glass. In the middle lays a large garden and a pool. Block 1 is divided in 8 suites, a studio and a restroom; on Block 2, the social area consists of a home cinema room and a heated swimming pool. Block 3 is composed by a kitchen, a spa and a playing area. Block 4 is reserved for home employees including an independent residence.
Outside there is a swimming pool, a tennis court and a playground. The exterior walls are handmade with a local stone (Canga de Minérios) of intense red color that multiplies under sunlight.
Photos: Rafael Carrieri
Casa do Patio is a stunning modern residence that blurs the lines of indoor / outdoor living, designed by Brazilian architect Leo Romano, located in Goiania, Brazil. The design of this residence dates back to modern Brazilian architecture, in which straight lines and simple demarcate the construction party.
From the outside, the play of volumes is necessary. Few plans define the facade that delicately conceals the daily lives of residents. Inside, the house reveals no mysteries, making clear the distribution of sectors and their environments. It all comes back to the courtyard. Thus, visual permeability and usability is complete, providing day to day family living with a heavy, reinforced by the architecture.
Knowledge, creativity, respect, commitment and dedication describe the firm of architect Leo Romano. With a broad palette of customers, stand out designs includes colleges, banks, decoration shops, bars, restaurants, nightclubs among others. Highlights also include residential projects in Goiânia and various squares. The firm continuously has their work published in newspapers, magazines and national and international books and has been featured on covers frequently. His last major publication is the book Roman Leo, in which the architect shows nineteen projects in 130 pages of the exclusive and deluxe edition.
Photos: Edgard César
Acapulco House is a modern double story residence that has been designed in 2010 by architect Flavio Castro, located in Guarujá, a municipality in the São Paulo state of Brazil. The 3,659 square foot (340 square meters) house is made up of six squares grouped in pairs. Within this compositional rule, two subtractions were made at opposite sides to form two venues: the garage in the front and the social area behind. The different relationships that they establish with their neighbors (other squares) were determinate by the unevenness of the floor, transparency and accessibility. In the sketch found at the end of this post, it is possible comprehend this.
Clearly we can perceive one middle axis that articulates empty halves and a pavilion in the backyard that creates a dialog with the main house.
In the left side, there is a succession of rooms is a space width 5.50 meters tall and huge transparency in parallel facades to the street. This transparency reaffirms the continuity of the space. Only one discontinuity happens by the stairs that leads to the upper floor. Metallic self-supporting, acetic and colorless, it cuts the sequence of rooms at one point creating a visual filter between the public street and the private backyard.
At the bottom left side the pavilion ends the succession of social environments. Separated of the house by the pool and deck, creates a tension between the house and itself. This interval space (range, pool) wins quality in the duality between “seeing and being seen”, completely dissolving the notion of attachment that could be created by the pavilion.
In the upper floor we have four suites with a marked symmetry. They are accessed by a hallway illuminated by a window above the head of the visitor and demystifies the corridor such as the word suggests. This entire upper floor is part of a common function (private area) outlined in the project by volume and color (green).
The openings (windows, etc) are projected in function of the touches between the geometries of the house. To the neighbors, the openings are very punctual, while in others facades are quite present.
The water surface under de interior stair returns to the air humidity in days of intense heat in the city of Brazil, a tropical country, and the roof garden of the pavilion keeps a low temperature of its flat roof.
The logic of the regular squares greatly facilitated the mathematical calculations and the structural performance of the house, because the same constructive procedure could be adopted for the entire building. The distances between pillars are almost the same and there are no structural transitions between the main and upper floor.
Photos: Marcelo Scandaroli
Taquari House is a modern property built for empty nesters, the creative vision of architecture studio Ney Lima, located in the tropical environment of Brasilia, Brazil. When building the 4,090 square foot (380 square meters) home, the clients wanted to preserve a typical tree savanna that existed on the grounds in the neighborhood of Taquari. Having this first fruits as a starting point, the architect and the residents agreed to build a two-story house in a U shape.
The ends were designed one bistro cuisine and a living involving the tree that stands out because of the white background and sides with rustic ceramic coating , which resembles the traditional adobe houses employed in the interior of Goiás.
The rooms of the house are integrated into nature through glass windows. The transparent and circular elements are featured for the walls and bring a perspective of communication between the environments having as passing the tree and leisure area.
Concrete frames around the vertical windows bring volume and balance between the stiffness of the concrete and a warmth of red. The green stone in the pool is of Asian origin called Hijau, which integrates nature and brings freshness which is necessary for the hot dry climate.
The house entrance is marked by a box of exposed concrete where a door was installed corten steel which contrasts with the cement and harmonizes with the external coating.
Photos: Edgard Cesar
Set high in the hills of the São Conrado neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro is this spectacular home designed by Studio Arthur Casas, with views of the ocean and Pedra da Gávea, a 2,769-foot granite dome that is a popular spot for paragliding. This private residence is that of Brazilian television show host Alex Lerner, who interviews celebrities for his show, “Behind the Fame”. The homeowner had several requests for the architect, he wanted a big pool since he swims several times a week. He wished to live the same way he did while vacationing in St. Barts when he as at home. Cleanliness was equally important, he wanted a low maintenance home. Mr. Lerner was so particular on the details, he actually left his television job in 2011 so that he could keep on eye on the construction.
The immaculate home is comprised of 5,200 square feet of living space, which cost approximately $213 a square foot to build. It feels light and airy despite all that stone that was used in the the design, due in part to the floor-to-ceiling sliding glass panels used in front and back. The floors and much of the millwork are cumaru, a hardwood that Mr. Casas said “is extremely tough and great for outdoor use.”
On the ground floor are apartments for the gardener and the maid, as well as two guest rooms; the master suite is on the third floor. Visitors enter on the second level, which opens onto the pool, with a view of the ocean beyond. (Mr. Casas cleverly raised the foundation of the house, so the neighbor’s roof below is obscured.) The poolside chaises, like most of the furniture in the home, are white, with covers that can be removed and washed, or scrubbed clean, to Mr. Lerner’s delight.
The Ibiza chaises from Restoration Hardware ($1,095 each) have washable covers, which pleases Mr. Lerner. “I like things very, very clean,” he said.
Mr. Lerner insisted that the material used to build his house be the same peach-beige-gray stone he had seen years before at the Western Wall, in Jerusalem.
A nearly 12-foot-tall door beside the hot tub leads directly into the master suite.
The central stair adds a vertical element to the horizontal house. On one side it is open; on the other, a recessed slot in the wall holds a handrail.
Steps up from the third-floor landing, where Mr. Lerner has his home office, is the master bedroom. On the wall is a movable artwork by Sérgio Machado: a procession of metal insects, secured with adhesive.
In the master bedroom, a 19th-century French chest sits beside the bed. The linens are from Restoration Hardware, as is the bench at the foot of the bed. The chair is by Aristeu Pires, a São Paulo designer.
A massive stone wall on the street shields the home’s occupant from the public; the front door opens onto the second-floor living area.
On the lower level are the guest rooms and the maid and gardener’s apartments. Upstairs is the living area, and above that, the master suite.
Sliding doors throughout the house offer the option of privacy as well as a sense of openness.
Arthur Casas, the architect, raised the foundation so the house below is hidden from view. At night, Mr. Lerner can go skinny dipping in relative seclusion. “I wanted to find a place for privacy,” he said. “I live alone, and here I can be naked.”
Querosene House is a modern three story home showcasing an incredible library design that contains 7,500 books, designed by architects grupoSP in São Paulo, Brazil. A large portion of land where the house has been built lies three meters below street level, so the design of this urban home of 10X40 meters enabled a large open space that is straightforward and transparent. This space is defined in one side by the north face structure, a parallel free wall which houses a library containing 7,500 volumes and on the other side by a parallel block, an all closed space – a block with three stories that contains all the services, equipment and dormitories.
To access this block concrete stairs positioned parallel to the south limit of the bath, to access the wall of books metal platforms connected to the service block placed in an interleaved manner.
The design takes advantage from the difference between the street level and the lower level of the plot, by positioning the living room in this lower level which ensures the required privacy and maintains the view of the distant landscape through the void. This simple home adopts simple constructive solutions, reducing the actions required for its achievement.
The structure of the volume is resumed to masonry walls and reinforced concrete. Installations are apparent and performed without interference. After that the finishes are simple: monolithic concrete flooring and white Portuguese Stone. The walls without finishes are ready as it built. A single exception: the wall with books, finished with time and history.
Photos: Nelson Kon
AH House is surrounded by lush, tropical landscaping of São Paulo, Brazil, the incredible contemporary vision of Studio Guilherme Torres. Completed in 2012, this 11,098 square feet (1,031 square meters) residence has been designed with full integration of the gardens with the living areas. Protected from the street by a stone wall, the transition interior / exterior happens naturally. Living rooms are transformed into large balconies, gently framed by architecture. The walls were contemporary artwork and furniture brings together a collection of vintage pieces mixed with family memories.
Photos: MCA Estudio