House in Jardim Europa
São Paulo, Brazil
Lucas Roca, Felipe Barradas, Victor Próspero, Tatiana Ozzetti, Henrique Muniz
Alexandre Roesler and Renata Castro e Silva
The concept that guided this proposal has the purpose of blurring that boundary between nature and building, or inside and outside. The strategy was to unfold a box into a more fluid slab that flows among trees. It is quite simple an assumption, but a challenge to be achieved, given the small scale of this site and the strict building regulations. In addition, it was mandatory to reach the maximum FAR, which means basically two overlapping slabs measuring 119 sqm each.
How can one spread a building over an area that seems not to exist? That was the challenge which the design faced.
The answer was straightforward: the geometry unfolds from the boundaries of the lot through a series of inward perpendicular projections. By this operation, we facilitate the insertion of two new courtyards. The resulting inner voids are that which reproduce the neighborhood inside the house. They also amplify its connection to the sky, guiding movement towards an upper viewing deck.
Surrounded by high-rise buildings, the Jardim Europa neighborhood in Sao Paulo is perceived as a green island. This scenario derives from ‘garden city’ principles, which guided the urban design of this area between 1910 and 1920, and have been preserved until the present due to its strict construction regulations. Jardim Europa’s skyline is defined by old trees which emerge above low-rise construction.
A 15m high tipuana tree is a landmark on Rua Belgica 440, where this house was placed. Seen from inside of the lot, this tree doesn’t fit. It clearly outgrows the 10m wide boundaries of this property. The green is outside.
In this neighborhood, most houses have been made as boxes, in such a way that trees and buildings are clearly separated. Once inside any lot in this area, one knows, its core will be fully built, and it tends to be dark. In this contrast between the urban and the architectural there is a clear inversion. Jardim Europa is perceived by the city as a green area, but from the inside of any of its houses, the green is perceived to be outside.
This small lot, 230m2, contrasts with typically larger properties in this neighborhood. Its perimeter is defined by an irregular four-sided polygon, devoid of parallel or perpendicular lines. The back boundary is defined by an acute angle, almost a vanishing point. The geometry of the house radiates from this irregular polygon.
It is one single frame for an image of walking through treetops.
Finally, back to the picture. The owner stands at the center of the site, looking up, touched by the sunlight: an anticipation of this house as if she knew, from the beginning, that she stood inside a courtyard, foreseeing a house which had to be there soon.