A Brazilian Architect Builds a Dream Home For Her Parents
When their children moved out in 2015, Neusa Gheno, a retired schoolteacher, and her husband, José Vilmar, a former colonel in the administrative area of the military, embarked on a journey to build their dream home. Having lived for three decades in Curitiba, Brazil, the couple chose to relocate six hours west, to Pato Branco, a city that José had become enamored with during a short work stint there. To create a space that afforded views of both the city and nearby greenery, they turned to their daughter, architect Barbara Becker, for help.
Situated on a sloped property that descends from the street, their new house appears to hover over the terrain on tall concrete columns. "The suspended volume reveals the backyard from the street," says Becker. The garden, which is irrigated by a rainwater-catchment system, is planted with drought-tolerant species. "I can smell the Jasmim-dos-poetas all over the house," says Neusa.
The structure was built using cast-in-place concrete and brick masonry, common construction methods in Brazil that helped keep costs within the $250,000 budget. "The only unusual technique was the wood-textured concrete ceiling in the main room," says Becker, referring to the wood-board impressions that were left by the formwork after it was disassembled and the concrete slab dried.
"It’s very common in Brazil to build out of concrete. We have a long history with it, as you can see in all the Niemeyer buildings." Barbara Becker, architect
Furniture, rather than walls, divides the main living area. "A combined open space was necessary for contemplating the city view and the sunset," says José.
The home represents a new chapter for Neusa and José, providing a place to cook and relax with friends as they begin their retirement years. As Becker puts it, "With their children already grown up, their priorities are the pleasures in life."