Bahia House by Studio mk27


Brazilian architects Studio mk27 have completed a house in Salvador, Brazil, where the exterior walls consist of sliding latticed wooden panels.

The project, called Bahia House, was designed specifically for a hot climate and uses traditional Brazilian building techniques and materials, including clay for the roof and wood for the ceiling.

The building is organised around a central patio to maximise natural ventilation and keep the interior cool in hot weather.

Photographs are by Nelson Kon

The following information is from the architect:

The Bahia House is an ecological house. But, not in the technological sense, not in the contemporary sense of the word “sustainability”, it does not have the very latest state-of-the-art gadgets that make it possible to optimize electric expenditure.

The organization of the floor plan and the use of materials come close to those of traditional architecture.

The Bahia House makes use of the old popular knowledge that has been reinvented and incorporated throughout the history of Brazilian architecture.

The house was considered for where it is, for the climate of where it is, for Bahia. And, for this no “green” software was used, no equipment and no calculations were made.

The builders of bahian traditional houses have long-known how to keep interiors cool even with a blazing sun of more than 40ºC, long before the corbusian ideas had been tropicalized or even before Sir Norman Foster had given a precise, technological and scientific dimension to sustainable architecture.

These bahian houses have roofs of clay, a banal material made in a rustic manner, and wooden ceilings.

The openings have large panels of wooden Mashrabiyas brought to Brazil by the Portuguese colonial architecture since the first centuries of its occupation of the American territories, and its origin is of an Arabian cultural influence.

These wooden panels provide vast comfort to the interior. The traditional bahian house uses the northeastern wind blowing in from the sea to organize the floor plan and has cross ventilation in its principal spaces, always making the interior cool and airy.

The Bahia House uses all these elements that are traditional to Brazilian houses.

These adjustments of the Portuguese house to a tropical climate were always studied and applied by modernism in Brazil.

The result in this case is a very pleasant house, where the interior protects from the hot and sunny climate outdoors.

The floor plan is entirely organized around a central patio, making the cross ventilation in all the spaces possible and a view that looks in, to a grassed garden and two exuberant mango trees.

The Bahia House privileges the environmental comfort of its dwellers but does not make use of the “most modern technology” for this.

Project: Bahia House
Location: Salvador, Brazil
Project: February 2008

Conclusion: January 2010
Site area: 2165 m2
Built area: 690 m2


Author: Marcio Kogan
Co-authors: Suzana Glogowski, Samanta Cafardo
Interior design: Diana Radomysler

Collaborators: Henrique Bustamante, Sergio Ekerman
Team: Beatriz Meyer, Carolina Castroviejo, Eduardo Chalabi, Eduardo Glycerio, Gabriel Kogan, Lair Reis, Maria Cristina Motta, Mariana Simas, Oswaldo Pessano, Renata Furlanetto

Landscape designer: Renata Tilli
Contractor: Eng Cosntrutora

Click for larger image

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Posted on Monday April 12th 2010 at 2:07 am by Catherine Warmann. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • alex

    simply elegant, well crafted, of its place.

  • CROFTdesign

    small images for such a rich project.

  • gerardo p

    Does someone know details of this wood instalation?

  • ChenShen

    What a beautiful and elegant house. Everything is just so unassuming and unpretentious. Studio mk27 has done a great job ! Congrats !

  • J*

    fantastic…. I just want to leave everything, and go there.

  • David

    Sublime! My perfect summer house…

  • truthnbeauty

    beautiful…..elegant…….simple………connected to place and culture…………meaningful…………joyful

    responsible designers/architects know to use all attributes of climate and place sensitive design first and only finally supplement with machines minimally as required. that is true sustainability.

  • yo

    NOW,this is a beautiful House! Has anybody noticed how it looks Kogan influenced?
    Anyway those guys took away the pretenciousness one can sense in his works.
    And that’s not just a detail.

  • Atal

    From an architectural point of view this is great. From a sociological, political and ecological point of view this house is a disaster. Built area: 690m2. Only 4 bedrooms. This is a house for 5 filthy rich people with an army of servants. Where is the maids/servants quarter (in Brazil they still have maids/servants). It means that the maids/servant have to commute for 3 or 4 hours everyday from their favelas to this house/their job. They probably cut the rain forest too to build this house. So spare me the talk about ecological house, sustainability and the no need for the tropicalized Corbusian ideas, I think here there’s a serious lack of modesty.

  • 42si

    I think we all agree about the wood detailing….just beautiful.
    Yes some posting of the details would be great, especially the wood screen system.

  • The architects were very wise, erecting tall walls to surround the house. Sliding latticed wooden panels? in Brazil? Maybe they should build a little house for the security guard, too. Not made of wood, of course.

  • So Atal what do you suggest?

    like architect you say to your client to renounce servant, and if they don´t renounce, you don´t make them the project?

    Be realistic, life like architecture is not so simple.

  • syd

    I agree with Atal. I was hoping someone would say something like that. This kind of grand architecture may look pretty and all, but its a completely unsustainable way of building and living. Its a filthy show off for some rich people. Sure, it has got beautiful detailing, but looking elegant alone doesn’t make it a great house. With that kind of money and space, a lot more can be achieved.

  • Atal

    To Moreno

    The architect has a social responsibility. I would renounce!

    Now don’t get me wrong from a purely architectural point of view this house is great. I just regret that this is the kind of house that Emperor Nero (15 December AD 37 – 9 June AD 68) would have built for himself, that was a time when slavery was the norm.

  • Julio

    An amazing sense of place, a beautiful piece of architecture in Brasil, i’d love to pass my holidays and weekends there. Maybe the more important decision is not to use air condicioners and glass facades but using traditional materials of the thropic, designing open spaces with enough shadow to be fresh.

    The architecth doesn’t choose the client, the client choose the architect. MK Architects choose very right decissions on this specific chase. Is more simple and easy reject the client and simply do nothing… and let other architect to choose the hight-tech glass box.

    This house without pretensions is simply a great house for rich people on Salvador with a secial sense for the place, the weather and the materials and practices.

  • Great House !

  • Renato Machado da Silva

    Nice house, sorry about comments on social responsibility. If he renounced those projects, in Brasil, he might not get any comissions. So, imagine the architect teaching the client: you should only have 1 servant, sir, or else I won´t design the house. It´s a very nice design and it´s not so common to have nice projects with such concerns about climate as rich clients can just afford their air conditioning

  • B

    If the rich aren’t rewarded with quality “things” (architecture, boats, cars, women) than there is no incentive to achieve anything. If not for rich people, design (which you apparently like since you are on Dezeen) would not exist in a meaningful way.

    Your argument is tired and a failure. Comparing a person who buys themselves a $800k vacation home to Nero is ignorant and irresponsible. Your flavela comment falls under the same two adjectives as you have no evidence.

    You sir, are a jackass.

  • atal

    to ‘B’:

    I might be a jackass (btw that’s not very nice to call someone you don’t know a jackass just because this person doesn’t share your point of view) but I would certainly not call you a jackass.

    When i first read your first paragraph, I thought you were sarcastic, well I guess not.

    I’m not comparing the owners of this house to Nero, I’m saying that this is the kind of house Nero would have built for himself, that was 2000 years ago, the world has changed slightly, for example slavery has been abolished but in countries like Brazil (where I have been a few times) I noticed that servants/maids are treated like sub-humans by their ‘masters’. They feel it’s perfectly normal to treat servants/maids like the way they treat them.

    The design of this house is a perfect example of what I’m saying: they don’t pay any attention to the world outside them.

  • The house is an extraordinary composite of practicality and absolute luxury. It would be simple, with some modification (wood pillars replaced by adobe, back screened panels, reflective pools down long sides) and delimination of size, to sit it in the Chihuahuan desert and accomplish an eco friendly task there whilst providing the limited luxury of simple materials well done. My adobes lie low and well over hung by roof on all sides but similarly unenclosed . This building, however, sits high and joyful in the jungle flat, how much more glorious it would be in the mountains.

    As for beauty, how exquisite! In architecture, unlike beautiful women, lovely is it own raison d’tre. If it takes the rich to lay on the make up jealousy

  • Dear Atal,

    fortunately the servent are not slave…..

    And you don t have enough element for say what you say. You don t know the client, and for me judging on the house that they have asked for, they are very sensitive, and human, like the house.

    And thanks to People like Nerone and Adriano, we had great pieces of architecture.

  • atal

    Dear Moreno

    “And thanks to People like Nerone and Adriano, we had great pieces of architecture.” yes, but at what human cost!

  • Erik

    Nice project. The ceiling adds on a lot of claustrophobic weight however.

  • I think social responsibility is a vital part of being an architect, but it by no means requires the designer to give up high-end commissions. It’s also unfair to throw around inflammatory rhetoric that assumes such a house has automatically been built from the blood of the poor for a robber baron that beats his or her servants. For all we know, this house belongs to a rich benefactor who has moved to Bahia to help tackle social problems there, and now has a house to host foreign investors who might help develop the area’s economy. Perhaps the owner operates a new factory that employs hundreds of people from Salvador and funds a new school. We don’t know, and presuming to know only reveals our own political agenda.

    What we do know we can see from the images and text: the client clearly took care to either ask for or allow and architect to guide him or her to an airy and open design that endeavors to operate with the incredibly hot local climate rather than against it as an air-conditioned, hermetically sealed box. The client was interested in exploring the regional design vernacular. It’s detailed beautifully. Julio above puts it best:

    “This house without pretensions is simply a great house for rich people on Salvador with a social sense for the place, the weather and the materials and practices.”

  • yrag

    Just a practical question. Bugs?

  • sullka

    Another superb work by Marico kogan.

    How I envy not having these types of clients.

  • sullka

    crap…..I meant “Marcio”…I mispelled it…sadly I can’t edited…so If anyone from that office reads it and knows spanish, I didn’t actually meant that word…..

  • el_turco

    I personally love the design and its connection with its surroundings.

    I dare not comment or pass judgement on the “social” aspects put forward by atal/scarpa and many others as a lot of the accusation seems to be speculatory; I don’t think enough facts are known to us to be able to pass such harsh judgement…
    Except maybe I’d like to say: if the patrons of this Work were going to commission a big house anyway, I’d rather it carried at least as much social and environmental consideration as this project…

    @ helvetico: Just to put your mind a little at ease regarding security ;) … looking at the photographs of the living room and the ground floor plan, I noticed four niches of at least 3.5m deep that contain 3 sliding doors of 3.5 each. Also I can see their tracks on the floor of the living room, just behind the latticed wooden panels. These sliding doors close up the living room when required (I guess whether this is adequate security or not is another debate :)