239 House in São Paulo, Brazil by UNA Arquitetos | Yellowtrace

239 House in São Paulo, Brazil by UNA Arquitetos | Yellowtrace

239 House in São Paulo, Brazil by UNA Arquitetos | Yellowtrace

239 House in São Paulo, Brazil by UNA Arquitetos | Yellowtrace

239 House in São Paulo, Brazil by UNA Arquitetos | Yellowtrace

 

Take a small courtyard, a clever floor plan and a truckload of concrete and you have yourself a bright, light and surprisingly transparent home. Design by UNA Arquitetos, this essentially Brutalist concrete building, built in São Paulo, Brazil, is not the heavy and dense structure you might otherwise expect it to be, made as it is from such an impenetrable material. And that’s no small feat. In part this has been achieved by the way the house has been designed spatially.

Comprised of what is essentially two separate buildings wrapped around a tree-filled courtyard, each of the angular walls overlook both the external space and each other. The wings of each building open to the courtyard both from downstairs and the rooms upstairs. It has the very heady effect of making the space feel both light and transparent all at once.

“A house designed for a particular family, even when one always creates a project suitable to anyone. It shapes a small courtyard towards which every room opens: a porch, a living room, a dining room, a kitchen, a study room and a bedroom,” said the architects.

The second reason the residence feels so airy and transparent is the plethora of glass. Vertical panels of glass, windows, sliding doors and in some areas, double height glazing. Horizontal glass panels acting as skylights allow for a flood of light into the ground floor rooms from the second-storey roof. The thick-framed timber windows and doors frame the masses of glazing so the building never feels like a glasshouse – instead, it’s cocooned from the interior and adds a panelled effect from the exterior.

One of the great challenges raising a young family is being able to keep your eye on small children running amok in different areas of the house. Not so here. The angled walls of the two buildings face each other, allowing for an interplay of space and views.

“The bending in of both of its wings aims at closer views of the tree and also of themselves, as in two small houses overlooking each other,” said the architects.

 

239 House in São Paulo, Brazil by UNA Arquitetos | Yellowtrace

239 House in São Paulo, Brazil by UNA Arquitetos | Yellowtrace

239 House in São Paulo, Brazil by UNA Arquitetos | Yellowtrace

239 House in São Paulo, Brazil by UNA Arquitetos | Yellowtrace

239 House in São Paulo, Brazil by UNA Arquitetos | Yellowtrace

239 House in São Paulo, Brazil by UNA Arquitetos | Yellowtrace

 

On the ground floor, the dining room and kitchen overlook the living areas in the building across the way. And then upstairs, the parents’ retreat, sitting above the kitchen below, overlooks, across the courtyard, the children’s play area and bedrooms. It’s the perfect synergy of adult space and privacy but with a place for the kids to run free whilst always under the watchful eye of a grown up.

Small children inevitably grow into larger ones, and by the time this little tribe are teenagers, the layout will have easily adapted for the privacy of both the parents and their young adult offspring. Still allowing for interactions between the areas but with the advantage of discretely having viewing capabilities from every area of the house. Perfect!

Of course, who can look past a rooftop pool? When space is at a premium and you want to use the courtyard for outdoor dining or toddlers to hoon around on tricycles, the roof becomes an obvious choice for a pool. A floor unto itself, the addition of this third floor takes a small footprint of a house, that already feels spacious, and gives it a further layer of depth and space. A contemporary and modern addition, the concrete reads perfectly against the clear water of the pool. They are perhaps an impeccable choice of materials to marry, the perfect juxtaposition. Hard, unrelenting, opaque concrete, meets clear, flowing water.

This house is effortlessly simple, and yet incredibly layered. Public and private spaces have a fluid relationship, not to mention the vignettes from each room offering a different perspective of both nature and the built environment.

 

 


[Images courtesy of UNA Arquitetos. Photography by Nelson Kon.]

 

About The Author

Susanna McArdle
Contributor

Susanna has a background in Interior Architecture and a passion for writing. Based in Sydney, she has worked both in Asia and Australia designing. An avid writer, it’s hard to know what she prefers more, stringing words together or creating spaces. But one thing she does know, is that she loves doing the both together.

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