by Jerry ElengicalFeb 24, 2023
Sheathed within a chevron-patterned lattice composed of suspended wooden planks, Casa Thomé Beira Da Silva by Brazilian architecture practice Marcos Bertoldi Arquitetos is settled upon an 1800 sqm plot along a plateau whose western edge slopes gently down towards a native forest. Located in Curitiba, near Brazil's southeastern coast, the residence’s design is said to have emerged from the client’s desire to have a home that extended into a garden, embracing openness and making divisions of interior and exterior seem indistinct. In this vein, the structure’s ground level has been planned out as a continuous sequence of spaces in an open plan configuration, embracing the world outside, with moveable wooden partitions that subtly segregate functional zones as required.
Marcos Bertoldi Arquitetos reveals in a press statement, "The program and use of the house is a common initial discussion in all our projects, to customise functionality in a way that pleases each client. We are very sensitive and always guided by our clients’ preferences, and also aim to adapt the project to all specificities brought by future residents." They add, “This project presented a set of very particular and demanding requests regarding the dimensions and proportions of each of the main spaces of the house, since the client already had many predefined dimensions in mind."
"Transforming all these needs into a built form demanded a lot from our team, but it is all part of the magic of incorporating demands into an architectural project and satisfying the client's desires as well as those of our office - where functionality, beauty and technique are always equally considered," notes the design team. In addressing these parameters, the team initially conducted excavations along the lateral edge of the site to clear space for the underground garage, gym, utility room, and an auxiliary bedroom on the basement level of the three-storey residential building.
While this lowest floor of the house features a reinforced concrete structure, the above ground levels employ a steel frame. The firm relays: “A steel structure is usually very demanding in compatibility, and it is generally very precise, not accepting imperfections or improvisations. However, it was the most suitable technique for the intended result, mainly because of its thinner proportions when compared to those of reinforced concrete, for example - providing greater lightness and transparency to the whole. The latest generation frames also deserve special attention as they are all built into the walls, floors, and ceilings, representing a great deal of effort invested in design and construction.”
An insulating roof, seven centimetres thick, crowns the assembly, exhibiting a light profile that complements the transparency of this section of the structure, clad in laminated and composite glass panels of varying thicknesses that open the home up to its surrounding context. While the front façade looks eastwards, the rear poolside face of the home faces towards the west, with privacy granted by the wooden lattice screen.
Effectively functioning as a reinterpretation of mosharabi screens and drawing from the intricacy and proportions of traditional Japanese basketry, this assembly of wooden slats enclosing the topmost floor regulates the permeation of light into the structure, engendering a play of shadows that shape the internal ambience. Resembling a glimmering bronze lattice, it is a defining element of the façade design. Walls dressed in Moledo stone flank the structure and run along the two bounding edges of the property, contrasting the lightness of the upper volume and anchoring it to the ground with their weighty materiality.
Landscape design in and around residence features overgrown vegetation - honouring the lush, tropical landscapes of Brazil. Wooden wall finishes on the ground floor extend this naturalistic aesthetic, contrasted by the sleek clarity of floor-to-ceiling glazing. A sculptural spiral staircase design with a wooden enclosure unfurls itself down from the upper floor, adding movement to the poolside edifice. As another highlight element of the design, its rich earthy texture fits in well with the context-driven nature of the project, contradicting the predominantly geometric design sensibility with its fluidity.
In the context of the internal layout, the designers reveal that "all rooms face east apart from the master bedroom, which faces the native forest to the west. The screen, which protects the terrace and expands all the living spaces of the house, might bar the entry of light, darkening rooms and impeding adequate sunlight from infiltrating these spaces - a fundamental need in Curitiba, which is an important southern state capital in Brazil, located 950 m above sea level with some of the lowest temperatures in the country.”
Near the access to the home, a shallow body of water, situated within a wooden enclosure to one side of the entrance, forms an engaging feature at the start of the layout, allowing reflections to play out along its surface from a skylight above. From here, the space branches out into the family room and study to one side and the kitchen to the other, coming into view beyond a short hallway. Past this, two dining areas and the double height living room with the staircase have been laid out in a linear segment of the plan, flowing into the pool deck which runs parallel to it outside.
Three supplementary bedrooms have been arranged on the topmost floor, two of which feature walk-in closets and ensuite bathrooms. Finally, the west-facing master suite occupies the majority of the southern end of this floor, and is also equipped with a significantly larger walk-closet and attached bath. Sleek, modernist furnishings tie the contrasting sensibilities of the interior design together: its contemporary articulation and tropical feel.
The chevron-patterned screen wraps around public areas to moderate excess light while also defining the enclosure of terraces and balconies that run along the building’s perimeter. Although natural light has been treated with priority throughout the residence’s architecture, its role is transformed after sunset, where the home’s innovative lighting design makes it appear as a large and complex light fixture that weaves light and wood into one.
Name: Casa Thomé Beira Da Silva
Location: Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil
Land Area: 1800 sqm
Built Area: 1074 sqm
Year of Completion: 2020
Architect: Marcos Bertoldi Arquitetos
Lighting Design: Marcos Bertoldi Arquitetos
Structural Design: Projen Engenheiros Associados
Structural Execution: Pirih Engenharia
Electrical Project: Eduardo Ribeiro
Hydraulic Project: Eduardo Ribeiro
Air Conditioning: Focus