A bulky concrete first floor balances above pale brick walls and tall grasses at this family house in Brazil by São Paulo architect Guilherme Torres (+ slideshow).
The two-storey house in Maringá has a square ground floor plan, while its upper floor is an offset rectangular volume that gently cantilevers over the edge of one wall.
Unlike the opaque brick walls of the lower level, this top floor is clad with latticed mashrabiya screens that bring light and ventilation into the family's bedrooms, but also maintain privacy.
Guilherme Torres explains: "As soon as I saw the gently sloped plot surrounded by other houses, the idea of this large panel came to me, to ensure privacy for both the residents and their neighbours."
The ground floor is split into two parts, with a large courtyard and swimming pool between. One half contains living and dining rooms, while the other functions as a pool house with a pair of changing rooms and an additional dining area.
Various furniture pieces by Torres are dotted through the building, alongside a selection of items by other Brazilian designers. "The decoration follows a jovial and Brazilian style," explains the studio.
Landscape architect Alex Hanazaki designed the setting for the building, adding the Texan pampas grass that brushes against the outer walls.
Photography is by Denilson Machado.
Here's a project description from Studio Guilherme Torres:
São Paulo-based architect Guilherme Torres has developed ideas which fuse the modern and the traditional. Guilherme's own house, designed by the architect himself, bears a chequered wood design, a kind of brise soleil called mashrabiya, which is a classic feature in Eastern architecture.
It was later assimilated by the Portuguese, who brought it to Brazil. This element, with its powerful aesthetic appeal, was adapted to this residence in the south of the country, and acts as a wooden 'curtain', allowing air flow, dimming light and also serving as a security feature.
"As soon as I saw the gently sloped plot surrounded by other houses, the idea of this large panel came to me, to ensure privacy for both the residents and their neighbours." This monumental house stands out as a huge rectangular monolith with two large brickwork blocks in contrast with the upper volume in concrete. A few columns, huge spans and strategic walls create exquisite fine gardens that make up a refuge for this young couple and their two small children.
The decoration follows a jovial and Brazilian style with an alliance of Guilherme Torres' design, including sofas and tables, and other great names of Brazilian design such as furniture designed by Sérgio Rodrigues and Carlos Motta. The composition of overlapping these Brazilian styles with international design is balanced by pieces from Tom Dixon and Iranian carpets, all sourced by the architect.
The garden, designed by Alex Hanazaki has given the house an ethereal atmosphere due to the movement of Texan plume grass.