Brasília, Brazil – Studio Valéria Gontijo
Project Year : 2015
Developed Area : 1150.0 m2 (12,400 sq. ft.)
How do you blend a need for privacy and a massive built area into a comfortable, inviting family home? That was the challenge given to architect Valéria Gontijo. At 1150m2, this home is about 10 times the size of a typical European home and more than four times that of the average Australian, Canadian or American home.
The street facade is almost foreboding in it’s height and blankness. It certainly isn’t welcoming. At the same time it is modern and very reflective of much of the style of Brasília.
Once past that daunting streetscape, the internal aspects are all about openness and warmth.
The conception process of the Cubes House has started with the primary need of a blind façade, seeking the privacy the residents were looking for. However, in contrast with the primary condition, the proposed idea was to make a dynamic arrange of volumes out of the basic and monolithic initial form. The result was the cubes, highlighted by large wood panels framed with steel plates.
The exposed concrete was the first choice since the beginning, which added to the project’s aesthetic. A practical, functional and timeless house that could be inserted on the context of a young and modernist city like Brasilia. The couple and its two children accepted all the process as a challenge to make a dream come true.
Wood, concrete and steel is the trilogy that marks all the facades, coatings and elements in the whole project, besides the brutalist and modern aspects the project was seeking. It was important to take advantage of the impact of the concrete to achieve the facades’ blind plans at the same time where the metallic structure allied to the reinforced concrete made the large spans possible.
It was important to the couple that the living room, dining room and gourmet area were totally integrated. The solution was to use large glass sliding doors that could be collected in-between the walls to assure the formation of one single area when necessary. On the ground floor, a small scale movie theater for 12 people took place, attending the family’s passion for art and to gather friends.
The top floor was projected respecting the privacy of each room which are connected by the 2 meters wide main balcony. The use of skylights, pergolas and wood blinds guaranteed the natural ventilation and lighting, also, the wood blinds made possible the ventilation without losing the aspect of privacy. The cumaru wood flooring is the same for all the environments, making comfortable the constant use of concrete.
The landscape, executed by the office of the landscaper Ana Paula Róseo, and the lighting design, by Lumni, were all done along with the architecture studio that always seeks integration of all the project steps in order to keep unity on the final result.
As result, an architecture of straight lines with no excesses. We have never had luscious houses and projects in our minds. Just like Mies van der Rohe’s quote: Less is more! Also, every client is unique, therefore, they deserve to be listened with attention because it not only makes our jobs easier but also brings the project closer to reality.
Doubtless, Brasilia is stimulant to our profession. The city’s modern architecture represents all explored construction possibilities of its time in which we also try to transpose on our projects. We are always seeking this growth, developing the projects’ structure, the large spans and deleting the unnecessary, focusing on what is important: to create projects that are compatible with the architecture of the city.
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