This Surprisingly Airy Holiday Home Is Made of Massive Concrete Slabs

This Surprisingly Airy Holiday Home Is Made of Massive Concrete Slabs

By Anna Squier
Designed as a vacation home for a young family, this tropical modern dwelling uses restrained forms and fundamental materials to stunning effect.

Located in Braganca Paulista, a commuter zone near the city of São Paulo, Brazil, this home's design celebrates the expansive vistas of the São Paulo territory. Architecture studio Reinach Mendonça Arquitetos Associados (RMAA) used bold architectural forms, careful site planning, and a limited selection of materials to make a bold statement and create a functional space for large gatherings and intimate family moments.

Landscape designer Vania Felchar selected tropical plant species that aligned with the contemporary architecture of the home. The climate inspired the choice of broadleaf species with many different shapes, resulting in an organic texture of greenery against a simple, refined formwork.

At 3,464 square meters, the concrete-metal-and-glass structure is simple in material composition and massing. The two linear volumes are stacked upon each other, with the social spaces are arranged on the main floor and the bedrooms and bathrooms located above.

The residence stands out for its simplicity in the use of exposed concrete, metal, and aluminum frames. The simple, long, and narrow volume is accentuated by large eaves that provide shading from the sun's warm rays.

A service yard is discreetly concealed behind a concrete screen. What appears as a series of concrete blocks opens up and becomes completely transparent on the hillside. It's all about embracing the views, the setting, and the climate.

With its long facades facing the landscaped setting, the home's orientation allows for all social spaces and sleeping areas to enjoy the same stunning view. Lines between indoors and outdoors are blurred as floor-to-ceiling glass panels open to fully connect the built structure with its natural surrounds.

The large overhang creates an outdoor porch that becomes an extension of the living spaces.

Indoor areas can open up completely to the outdoors through floor-to-ceiling glass sliding panels. On the upper floor, a continuous balcony provides a smooth transition between indoor and outdoor spaces.

Located on the upper floor, stacked above the main living spaces, each sleeping room has its own exquisite views of the surrounding hills.

An open plan dominated the main floor, arranging all social spaces along a linear axis. A large paved terrace leads down to the outdoor swimming pool, which acts as a buffer between the home and the land. 

A grand swimming pool is located just a few steps from the main living spaces of the home. An expansive paved terrace connects the different levels, easing visitors from inside to outside.

The home's orientation is planned around its surroundings. Nestled gently into the hillside, outdoor and indoor spaces spill over providing plenty of space for gathering with friends and family while enjoying the tropical setting.

On the interior, a wooden ceiling floats gently above the concrete roof slab, providing additional space for ventilation and cooling. Views from the main living spaces look onto the terraced yards and expansive views of rolling hills and farmland.

Reds, oranges, and wood tones blend to create a warm setting for gathering with friends and family. 

The site's uneven terrain allowed further opportunity to build a caretaker residence, which is located in privacy on the lower level. Stairs and ramps lead through the lush gardens connecting all levels.

The architects took advantage of the uneven site and nestled the home into the landscape, providing opportunity for a series of stacked volumes with different uses.

 Simple and linear in form, with transparency and openness, abundant cross ventilation provides natural cooling and comfort. Not only is the home thoughtful in composition, it is sustainably sound as well. Rainwater is collected for irrigation and PV panels provide solar energy for water and pool heating. 

The concrete structure provides protection and shade from the outdoor elements.

At night, the concrete screen and glass walls reveal the living spaces beyond further emphasizing the transparency of the home.

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