PL House by Fernando Maculan
and Pedro Morais



Architectural photographer Leonardo Finotti has sent us images of a house near Belo Horizonte, Brazil, designed by Fernando Maculan and Pedro Morais.


Built on a steep slope, a deep, concrete base houses the private rooms of the residence.


On the upper level glass walls divide a kitchen, living room and TV room, over which a large slab of concrete is supported by two pillars.


Here's some more information from Pedro Morais:


PL House

This house is located in a low-density housing district in the surroundings of the city of Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais State, southeast of Brazil. The place still keeps great part of the original vegetation, mainly formed by dense amount of thin and long trees covering the hills and helping provide a spectacular view from the site.


The PL House is a permanent residence for a young couple still without children, but willing to have two or three in a near future.


The project is based in a relatively simple composition solution, concerning a not so simple topographic condition of building a house in a slope with 60% constant inclination.


The clients’ aim, having this plot in hands, was to have a really unique contemporary house, able to provide them comfort for day life and having their many friends home at free times. It should also be positioned up high on the hill, in a way the beautiful view could be admired above the dense surrounding vegetation. Despite its generous size (3000 sqm), the plot had very difficult access and occupation condition.


The adopted solution came through the creation of a solid block well accommodated on the terrain, having over it a “floating” slab, softly supported by two concrete blocks. The establishment of this solid block, together with the extension of the plateau pavement to the back has created a large inhabitable area, where the two closed blocks are put and around which the couple’s friends can get together.


One of these blocks fits the TV room and the other the kitchen, with its two balcony-windows: one opening in and another opening out. Between these two blocks, closed only by sliding glass panels, fits the living room where most of the home activities take place. At the lower solid block, rooms demanding more divided areas were put: bedrooms, restrooms and laundry, all of them facing the view.


The access to the house, initially thought to be made by a “funicular”, has been substituted by a winding ramp, but keeping the original privacy inversion: social areas on top and private areas on the lower floor. Together with this change, the house plateau has also been reconfigured, in order to accommodate car parking on it, below the top slab that also covers the main living area.


Nova Lima, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Fernando Maculan e Pedro Morais

Leonardo Colucci, Leonardo Paes, Ricardo Cordeiro e Roberta Vasconcellos

Built area:
475 sqm

Plot area: 3000 sqm


Posted on Monday August 3rd 2009 at 12:03 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • The Year of The Monkey

    Drawings please!

  • ryan

    ooh. haha. first image….

    -anyone remember a fire station by zaha hadid?

    looks interesting anyhow.

  • Tyler

    I really liked everything until you see that last image. It’s just an enormous scar in the side of the hill!! They completely ignored the topo and just cut out a flat base for the house!! AHH!! Terrible!

  • Horrible Haridas

    low-density housing district! wish there was something ‘low density’ here in india :)

  • isla

    i`m sorry but this is such a bad copy of john lautner´s work, there´s some zaha firestation to…

    PD: what a way to interact with the environment, in the last picture you can see how gently the house treats the mountain… “The adopted solution came through the creation of a solid block well accommodated on the terrain”, yeah, right

  • Patrick

    Oscar meets Zaha

  • di

    nice site, nice house, but the design could use a bit of clarity. don tknow what to make it. bit like a salad.

  • At first glanse-not bad.At the second-that this is more an interior design then the architecture.Besides-theres no plans and so on…

  • tanya telford – T

    i dont know if they have taken ideas or inspiration from other architects but this house looks quite stunning, i think the materials used help it sit within its environment, (the views/window space etc look amazing), but maybe Tylers comment about cutting a base is valid,…? not sure, to be honest i thought the view of the house in the last picture made the site look more like a quarry or excavation site that’s been developed.

  • So idyllic. Can you imagine waking up to that view every morning?

    I’m struggling a bit to think why those chairs in pic 5 are facing inside …

  • Felipe

    I totally agree with Tyler !!!

  • aoki78

    Would be nice if you publish also some sections and floor plans with every architectural project here, photos only don´t say much about the buildings.

  • Inside it looks airy and light and wonderful … but outside? Sorry, it’s a bit ugly, and certainly not well-integrated into the landscape.

  • Elena

    I like the way that function incorporates the structure so that it’s not intrusive at all… And that contributes the idea of dividing the space into private and public.

  • wartian

    the 5 columns at the car porch area definitely same as zaha vitra firestation column…but it is still a good place to live..!if the design can throw off big influence from zaha will be best!

  • Jaimo

    Take a look of de the hill cut (air view). The house is over a artificial plane. Good design ( a good copy) bad architecture. When the acces to the proyect on that conditions is for downstair, the idea must resolve the acces to the house and to the diferent programs. This house use the NO solution.

    Excuse me for mi english.

  • Pedro Morais

    For those interested, drawings can be found at > Casa PL

  • bodkin

    i’ve also just noticed that the client is ‘willing to have one or two children in the future’. No-ones forcing you

  • Forattini


  • truthnbeauty

    Environmentally insensitive and irresponsible design. It only takes and does not ‘give’ anything to it’s place.
    Good architecture evolves and grows from it’s physical reality -the site. It does not gouge and slice it.
    Yes!! Drawings are a must for responsible presentation and understanding.
    The context photo speaks volumes.
    Call this project ‘Zaha Mis-deed’.

  • johan

    A pastiche of arquitecture’s cliches…
    Zaha fire station, koolhaas beans (in a strange prorpotion), and so on…
    just loved the landscape.

  • vincent

    I agree with Tyres, a enornous scar in the hill and with Chuck, it is a bit ugly from outside. They completely ignored the landscape. Terrible!

  • Pierre Sinsua

    excellent use of glass, very well designed

  • claudem

    stupid……could have been placed anywhere… was completely ignored……oh sorry no…site was completely ruined (being polite)

  • Azeem

    vitra fire station in the forest.

    I love the ‘slit & lift’ roof but its superflous because already their is enough light through the windows

  • @Tyler – I would have to say that I completely agree

  • What made me laugh was your description, “The PL House is a permanent residence for a young couple still without children, but willing to have two or three in a near future.” Still without children, implies the pressure to have them and the “willingness to have them” seems so 1950’s and the pressure from society. Very cool home though. Maybe they won’t have children and just live there in peace with each other and the surrounding nature? What a concept.

    Thanks for the post. Cheers, Cheryl – Editor-in-Chief,

  • car

    what is that car ?
    the new vw beetle ?

  • Brian


    Yes, the context of the situated land was not well thought out- It is a nasty scar on the land- but landscaping will take care of that- I presume!

    It would have been nicer to utilize the natural vegetation and surrounding.

    Pedro, Eu prefiro que voces fez uma case montado em “stilts” dexando a terra sem mexer.


  • Brian


    I agree to some extent with your statement, but your aloofness and supriority is so overwhelming!


  • Vitor Zonderico

    O projeto aqui faz o interior se relacionar com a natureza, no meu ponto de visto faz com que o mesmo se torne algo deslumbrante.


    This is so Vitra Firestation…

  • roderikos

    Or shall we say, “de-firestation”?

  • ricardo

    Just another scar in an agonizing hill. Shame… I am brazilian, and am quite used to see this disgraceful interventions here… Just imagine that once upon the past, this hill was a green carpet of beautiful Atlantic Forest (which now has been reduced to some 15% of its original along the brazilian coastline).
    The farmers begun the job, and now the architects are finnishing the destruction with that kind of approach to the environment…
    All that reflects what Niemeyer keeps on saying, here in Brazil… architects should read more… poetry, philosophy, politics, everything…