Santa Teresa House
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Carlos Zebulun (trainee)
To guarantee the privacy of the residents, the opacity draws silhouettes, seen from both inside and outside: those who move inside glimpse the shadow of an old tree next to the perimeter of the construction, and those who watch from outside in can see the silhouette of who is walking in the gallery. The frosted glass used on the sloping faces facing the street is an important element of the design. At night, artificial light changes the perception and makes this part of the house look like a giant flashlight. A gadget helps tangle the dubiousness between roof and closing on this face of the house: the gap in the connection point of the glass with the masonry allows air circulation, controlled by moving pieces of wood.
The Residence sits on a slope in Santa Teresa, a hilly neighborhood in the central region of Rio de Janeiro, on a densely green area and over 10 meters of unevenness. It was built near the street, next to the highest levels, enabling its building and the access. Thus, the house develops as a pavilion parallel to the contour lines, settling on two floors supported by stone walls. At the highest level there are the entry, kitchen, dining room and bedrooms, while the living room is in the lower level, 2 meters down. Facing the slope, every permanent-use environment offers panoramic views. The two levels are connected by a glazed gallery, located in the part surrounded by the street and leaning in the rest of the house by the ridge line. The roof is precisely the most important element of the design, composed of four different inclination lines and two different materials. In most environments, the house was covered in metal tiles and wood paneling.
The house is totally adapted to the terrain, with one floor, and it is not seen from the street. As if it was not there. It is built in a preserved area of Rio de Janeiro, and we have to keep all the trees, which was a challenge to the project.