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2016 MCHAP

Paineira House

BLOCO Arquitetos

Brasilia, Brazil

June 2015


Matheus Conque Seco Ferreira - BLOCO Arquitetos Daniel Mangabeira da Vinha - BLOCO Arquitetos Henrique Eduardo Coutinho - BLOCO Arquitetos


Rodrigo Hernán Scheel Chávez (Colaborator and coauthor)




Reinaldo Haruo Mikami


The starting point of this project was the existing 15 meters tall paineira tree. We created an east-west axis starting from the tree and parallel to the street, defining the main internal circulation. However, even upon entering the residence, the tree is not immediately revealed. Various openings in walls and ceiling expose the paineira in small bits. The strategy of framing only parts of the surroundings was used intentionally direct the view towards specific points of interest. The house acts as a powerful instrument of mediation between indoor and outdoor spaces. The experience of directing the view from within the house was extended to the exploration ways of to direct its use as well. Therefore the program was divided in two blocks separated by a north-south axis: one with the services, living room and “dining room” to the west and the other with the bedrooms to the east. Both blocks have similar dimensions on plan, however a sequence of different ceiling heights insinuate the intended uses of each space. The external form is a direct result of this operation. The articulation of different ceiling heights that suggest the use and the importance of each room refer to Adolf Loos´ Müller House. The main door is located in the narrowest part of the construction and allows direct access to the backyard. All the external wall surfaces were painted in the same textured paint. A lighter variation of the same color was applied in all the ceilings and internal walls.


This house is located inside a small gated community, 15 minutes away from the city center. The neighborhood is considered to be a safe, green and monotonous suburb, formed by a sequence of many gated communities of the same size and configuration. This is an area with very low population and construction density. In this context, taken away from the city and far from its urban dynamics we felt the necessity to question the way in which the house could relate to its surroundings. Our answer was to create an architecture that explores the visual heaviness of its masses and is introverted, more closed towards the street. At the same time we wanted to question the way in the house and its dwellers could relate to the plentiful greenery around. Instead of being a neutral box inside a beautiful scenery we wanted the house to take an active role as an instrument to discovering certain parts of the existing vegetation and highlight certain views to the sky and to the surrounding landscape. Instead of starting from Corbusier´s “open plan” concept we were attracted to the possibilities of Adolf Loos´Raumplan and how it could be used to insinuate intended uses of the internal spaces and enrich the views that we considered to be the most interesting ones.


The house is cool and naturally lit during most of the time, therefore its energy consumption is very low. The intended use for each space was extensively discussed with its future dwellers during the project development, therefore it has successfully fulfilled our intentions in its daily use. The low wall that surrounds the house was created to define outdoor gardens, protected from the view from the outside. During the day it becomes a screen for projecting the shadows of the trees around. Besides, our studies of solar radiation didn´t predict one of the most interesting aspects of the house: the way in which the full moon casts shadows in the internal spaces.

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