top of page

2018 MCHAP

Mantiqueira House

Una Arquitetos

São Bento do Sapucai, Brazil

February 2017


Una Arquitetos


Aum Construções (Construction) Zamaro (Installations) Cia de Projetos (Structural Engeneer) Ricardo Heder (Lightning design) Luisa Mellis (Landscaping Architect) Alufer (producing and assembling the steel structure )


Elisa Bracher


Nelson Kon


The construction of the house was should preserve the natural features of the site, without major earth moving. The house is divided into two volumes, one containing social areas and guest apartments, and another suspended, with family bedrooms. Between the two volumes, the terrace and swimming pool seek more favourable conditions of insolation and views over the forest. The long exposed concrete volume makes contact with the ground. It contains revetments and supports the pool. An upper volume was designed as a suspended wagon. Its steel structure was integrally manufactured in a factory, taken to the site in small pieces, assembled and welded on the ground in a few days. Once ready, the structure was suspended by crane, and fixed on top of the two concrete pillars in a few minutes. The steel structure rests on two points and spans 12 meters, with 6 meters cantilevered on each edge. Following the logic of dry construction, the internal walls and ceilings are made of plywood panels. Externally, the wood was charred, a millennial technique of preservation. The internal floors of the house are entirely made of reused wood.


House located on the ridge of Mantiqueira, a mountain range of 500 km that runs across three Brazilian states: São Paulo, Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro, at an altitude of 1800 meters, in a region protected by its natural and scenic value. Pedra do Baú (Baú Rock), less than 2 km from the house, is the main reference in the landscape. The smallholding, a former producer of red berries, largely remains with its original forest. The house was implemented by taking advantage of an existing clearing, between a densely forested hillside and a stream.


The ground floor construction, made of concrete, defines a tectonic volume, housing service areas, a large living room, kitchen, as well as the two guest rooms. By folding around itself, it conforms a patio, providing a more sheltered moment for the house. Between these two volumes, a large deck with gardens and swimming pool overlook the nature environment. The intersection of both volumes generates, in turn, a double height veranda in the patio. This approximation of opposites creates situations with interesting counterpoints, such as the scale of the wide views on the terraces and the reduced landscape of the patio. Also, the double transparency of the living room as opposed to the more opaque volume of the wagoon. Alternatively, the exposed concrete that defines the lower winding volume as a dense mass, as opposed to the inherent lightness of the wagon made of steel and charred wood that floats over the former. The construction of the house in distinct volumes, the suspended wagon, across the slope of the terrain, allowed each ambiance to gain unique conditions in the nuances of luminosity and temperature of the days and months of the year. It has defined the house as a privileged observatory of the geography, landscapes and extraordinary views of the Mantiqueira Mountains.

bottom of page