The ‘Planar House’, located few hours from São Paulo, is a private house that stands in the middle of an open landscape, occupying the highest point on the site. Designed by São Paulo-based Marcio Kogan, founder of Studio MK27, the house features a monumental green roof that seems to merge with the landscape when seen from above.
Horizontality is often explored in Kogan’s work with the desire to blend the architecture within the landscape it sits on. The firm’s work is both local and contextual in its approach, which could be characterised using sharp lines, layering of spaces, and blurring of boundary between inside and outside. ‘Planar House’ is a radical exercise in horizontality and it finds its roots in mid-century modern architecture.
When seen from far, the house resembles a long horizontal pavilion sitting in the landscape. Inspired by the Miesian architecture language, the house’s presence is felt more in its footprint rather than in volume, like an extensive line in the landscape. Structurally, the roof is a rigid platform which is only supported by cross-shaped pillars and covered by a green roof, acting as the fifth façade for the house.
“This type of insertion on the plot demanded care and attention with the design of the rooftop, which is the fifth facade of the building. This was an exercise in composition and selection of equipment to be placed there, such as solar panels and skylights,” explains Marcio Kogan.
Internally, the spaces are a mix of semi-open and enclosed private areas, under the large green roof. Two programmatic boxes define the space-planning, with the en-suite bedroom and living areas facing the northern landscape and water body beyond. Towards the south, the designers have placed all the service areas, to block the heat from the afternoon sun.
The public areas of the house are located at both ends and can be completely opened or closed by sliding glass doors, transforming the entire house into a terrace. This layering of spaces provides flexibility and creates opportunity to connect with the landscape while being protected from the elements.
The long extending lines of the horizontal roof gives internal spaces an appearance of a large canopy, highlighting the formal nature of architecture. Internally, exposed smooth concrete finishes and wood dominates the interiors and the designers have chosen a muted palate for the house. Extensive use of wood in the interiors helps connect the house with the landscape beyond.
The architects have also used perforated brick walls to provide privacy and light throughout the house. The lack of walls on the north side is in stark contrast to the winding perforated brick walls of the south. These walls help define the different relationships between the internal and external spaces.
“The wall, which is usually a symbol of division and isolation, in this project, is at times concave and at others convex, embracing the entrance garden and creating transparencies as well as offering protection from the street. Its brick texture contributes to a cosy atmosphere and creates light filters with kinetic effects as the day passes,” adds Kogan.
This house is an extreme example, which is hard to mimic in urban centres, given the lack of space. It serves its purpose of being a countryside house and does well to blend in the landscape it sits on. The architectural gesture here pushes the greening agenda and creates a fresh modern take on the mid-century modernist houses.
Project: Planar house
Location: Porto Feliz, Brazil
Project: August 2013
Completion: February v2018
Site area: 7,000 sqm
Built area: 1,000 sqm
Architecture: Studio MK27
Architect: Marcio Kogan, Lair Reis
Interior design: Diana Radomysler
Project team: Carlos Costa, Carolina Castroviejo, Laura Guedes, Mariana Simas, Oswaldo Pessano, Pedro Ribeiro, Raquel Reznicek, Renato Périgo, Ricardo Ariza Miyabara Suzana Glogowski, Tamara Lichtenstein, Thauan Miquelin
Landscape Designer: Maria João D'orey
Structure Engineer: Afaconsult
Steel Structure: Afaconsult
Sustainability Consultant: CTE / house enrolled in GBC (Green Building Council) reference home
Air Conditioning: Logitec
Contractor: Fairbanks & Pilnik
Main Suppliers: Bellas Artes (stone) / Plancus (internal and external wood panels and doors) / Tecnosystem (aluminium frames) / Marvelar (woodwork) / Lumini (lighting)
Photographer: Fernando Guerra
Studio MK27 located in the chaotic city of São Paulo was founded in the late 70’s by architect Marcio Kogan and today is comprised of 30 architects and various collaborators worldwide. The architects of the team, great admirers of the Brazilian modernism generation, seek to fulfill the task of rethinking and giving continuity to this iconic architectural movement. The projects of Studio MK27 place value on formal simplicity and are elaborated with extreme care and attention to details and finishings.
Kogan is an honorary member of the AIA (American Institute of Architecture), Professor at Escola da Cidade in São Paulo and Politecnico di Milano, considered by Época magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential persons in Brazil, is part of “Wallpaper’s 150 Famous for 15 Years”, and came in 39th in Dezeen's Hot List 2017. He leads a team of architects who, for the most part, have been working with him for over a decade.
Since 2001, when he started a co-creation and cooperative work system at the office, studio mk27 has won more than 250 national and international awards, such as: IAB (Institute of Brazilian Architects), São Paulo Architectural Biennial, WAF, Architectural Review, Dedado Minosse, Record House, Leaf, D&AD, Spark, Barbara Cappochin, Iconic, AZ, Buenos Aires Ibero-americana Architectural Biennial, Wallpaper Design Award and Prix Versailles.
The Studio team has lectured and workshops at the Royal Academy of Arts, AIA, Société Française des Architectes, Clubovka, FAU-USP, Mackenzie, FAAP, Politecnico di Milano, Mantova, Porto Academy, Verona, Valencia, South Florida, Rice, Texas, Cornell and Yale universities among others. In 2012 studio mk27 represented Brazil at the Venice Biennale, which meant some extra kilos for the group of 10 architects who went for a gondola ride.