An Expansive Grass Roof Tops This Modern Brazilian Home

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By Lucy Wang
Sandwiched between two concrete slabs, a modern holiday home is fully integrated into nature.

Set amidst rolling hills outside São Paulo, Brazil, this 10,763-square-foot contemporary home designed by Brazilian architecture firm Studio MK27 blends into the landscape with a grand grass roof.

Named after its low-lying horizontal form defined by concrete slabs, the striking abode—known as the Planar House—serves as a weekend home for a family of five and their guests.

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In this aerial photograph, solar panels and skylights can be seen on the green roof.

In this aerial photograph, solar panels and skylights can be seen on the green roof.

The structure is built entirely of reinforced, poured in-situ concrete, except for the metallic pillars on opposite ends of the home.

The structure is built entirely of reinforced, poured in-situ concrete, except for the metallic pillars on opposite ends of the home.

"Planar House is a radical exercise in horizontality, an aspect commonly explored in our projects," explains Studio MK27.

The green roof is accessible via ladder. "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," adds the architects.

The green roof is accessible via ladder. "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," adds the architects.

The architects took cues from Miesian architecture and set the green-roofed concrete slab—a structural platform with no beams—on a series of slim, cross-shaped metallic pillars.

The north-south hallways divide the programmatic areas to the east and west.

The north-south hallways divide the programmatic areas to the east and west.

The interiors feature a minimal palette of timber and concrete. The bathroom of this bedroom is hidden behind a sliding wall.

The interiors feature a minimal palette of timber and concrete. The bathroom of this bedroom is hidden behind a sliding wall.

The interior, also designed by Studio MK27, is organized along a long hallway that separates the row of five en-suite bedrooms on the west side from the service areas—which include the staff bedrooms, the kitchen, and a kid's playroom—on the opposite end. 

The living room is furnished with low-lying timber furniture from studios like Ronan & Erwan Bourollec and Liceu de Artes e Ofícios.

The living room is furnished with low-lying timber furniture from studios like Ronan & Erwan Bourollec and Liceu de Artes e Ofícios.

The living rooms bookend the house on the north and south sides and fully open up to the outdoors through full-height, sliding glass doors.

Brick was also used in the interior to lend a sense of warmth. 

Brick was also used in the interior to lend a sense of warmth. 

"The idea was to have a full integration between the inside and the outside," say the architects. "Therefore the house has living rooms at its two ends that are converted into covered terraces when the door frames are opened."

A large pool sits on the southwest side of the Planar House.

A large pool sits on the southwest side of the Planar House.

To create contrast with the rigid concrete geometry, the architects added a curving brick wall that winds along the west elevation and wraps partially around the home’s three sides.

"Paradoxically, it defines the different relationships between the internal and external spaces," explains the firm. "The wall—which is usually a symbol of division and isolation—is, in this project, at times concave and at others convex, embracing the entrance garden and creating transparencies as well as offering protection from the street."

"Paradoxically, it defines the different relationships between the internal and external spaces," explains the firm. "The wall—which is usually a symbol of division and isolation—is, in this project, at times concave and at others convex, embracing the entrance garden and creating transparencies as well as offering protection from the street."

Concrete and steel reinforcements have been embedded into the interior of the brick wall for added stability.

Concrete and steel reinforcements have been embedded into the interior of the brick wall for added stability.

The green roof of the linear home, which is located on the property's highest point, was planted with grass to match the surrounding landscape.

The green roof of the linear home, which is located on the property's highest point, was planted with grass to match the surrounding landscape.

A staff worker tends to the grass roof.

A staff worker tends to the grass roof.

In another contrast to the horizontality of the house, the architects added a translucent, multi-colored cocoon chair by Patricia  Urquiola that hangs from the ceiling.

In another contrast to the horizontality of the house, the architects added a translucent, multi-colored cocoon chair by Patricia Urquiola that hangs from the ceiling.

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An Expansive Grass Roof Tops This Modern Brazilian Home - Photo 15 of 16 -
A look at the floor plan.

A look at the floor plan.

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: Studio MK27

Engineers: Afaconsult

Lighting: Lumini

Landscape: Maria João d'Orey

General Contractor: Fairbanks & Pilnik