When the client approached SPBR Arquitetos to build their new weekend home in São Paulo, their brief asked for a home that would enable them to receive friends in an environment with maximised Nature. The architects’ anti-FAR approach inverts hierarchy of spaces inside the house, giving prominence to amplifying the swimming pool area, solarium and the garden.
Sao Paulo is a mega city of 2o million people, burdened by rapid urbanisation and facing severe traffic congestion. Although it is gifted with one of the most beautiful coasts, it also means during weekends everyone is moving in the same direction, to the beach. In order to beat the weekend rush, the weekend house is designed as a counterflow action, one that asks you to slow down and contemplate Nature.
Located in a central area in São Paulo, the 183-square metre house features a semi-outdoor living area, ample garden, rooftop level pool and solarium. Only enclosed spaces are located on second level, lifted on columns, featuring a small apartment for the caretaker and a bedroom.
Its brutalist architecture remains raw and devoid of any opening. As seen from the outside, it appears to be a set of two floating concrete slabs. On the ground floor, it is hard to say where the landscape ends and where the house begins and that’s an intentional strategy to maximise the landscape area. The two lifted volumes provide shade and accommodate living and kitchen area for the family, with greenery all around. Surrounded by neighbouring houses, this space doesn’t receive much sun, and thus the decision to raise the swimming pool to the roof level.
Conceived as a water tank, which are often raised above ground, the architects utilise the permitted height level of 6 metres in the zoning code to ensure the swimming pool is always in the sun and also provides panoramic views of the city from the top.
The openness of the ground floor level promotes cross-ventilation and the green and the water elements, spread throughout the house, help reduce the heat gain, lowering the temperatures inside the house significantly. The design promotes passive cooling, with hot air rising up due to stack effect, lowering the reliance on artificial cooling.
“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,” explain the architects.
They continue, “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 fulfil pipes, to supply water. Water level holds a potential possibility.”
The house hints at a new way of living in urban cities, one that creates opportunity to contemplate Nature. Extensive green areas, water features, lack of walls, high ceilings are some of the things that this house does right to create adequate thermal comfort and also to create a small piece of oasis inside the city of São Paulo.
Project Title: Weekend House in Downtown São Paulo
Location: São Paulo, Brazil
Design Year: 2010 - 2011
Building Completion: 2014
Site Area: 269.50 m2
Total Floor Area: 183.40 m2
Architectural Firm: spbr arquitetos
Principal In Charge: Angelo Bucci
Project Team: Nilton Suenaga, Tatiana Ozzetti, Ciro Miguel, Eric Ennser, João Paulo Meirelles de Faria, Juliana Braga, Fernanda Cavallaro, Victor Próspero
Structural Engineer: Ibsen Puleo Uvo
Foundation Engineer: Apoio Assessoria e Projeto de Fundações - José Luiz de Paulo Eduardo
Geotechnical Investigation: Engesolos Engenharia de Solos e Fundações
Plumbing and Electrical: JPD Projetos de Instalações - Jairo Paixão Daniel, Joel Paixão Daniel, Jamir Paixão Daniel, Jaime Paixão Daniel Filho
Landscape Architect: Raul Pereira
Lighting Reka: Ricardo Heder
General Contractor: José Antonio Queijo Felix
Constructor: Theobaldo Bremenkamp, Reinaldo Francisco Ramos [Renner]
Woodworks: Móveis AEME - Agostinho Alves Moreira
Steelworks: Carlos Augusto Stefani [Tatão]
Glass: STW vidros - Ivan Fontenele
Structural System: Reinforced concrete
Major Materials: Concrete, wood and glass
Photographs: Nelson Kon
ABOUT SPBR ARQUITETOS
Angelo Bucci, since 1989, holds simultaneously two complementary positions: professional, as an architect, and academic, as a professor of architecture.
SPBR, founded in 2003, represents the combination of practice and theoretical knowledge, works and words. In the realm of design, the office engages on different scales: houses and buildings. In the realm of words, it promotes a flourish of dialogues: publications, exhibitions, lectures, and studios. Through this method, the interweaving of works and words, SPBR continuously challenges the premises that support the language of architecture.
SPBR’s projects value structural conception, constructive solutions, economic viability, and mainly, the interaction with the city as the domain of architecture.
SPBR is committed to exploring a threshold of unrealized possibilities, searching meaningful designs, informed by previous experiences, the proper use of resources, respect for the heritage, and boldness regarding our legacy for the future.