by Jerry ElengicalMay 03, 2022
A house, the unit of living, requires to be built and designed with a certain sense of visual and emotive sensibility, as we tend to spend most of our intimate and vulnerable times within its folds. Architect and designer Victor B. Ortiz suffuses style, comfort and function in his latest concept, the Taperá House, crowned with a sweeping, oblique green roof dressed as a garden, gently curving to imitate the contours of the site. The residential architecture is imagined in the lush coastal town of Paraty, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, referencing elements from the ancient indigenous 'Taperá style', usually characterised as a visually simple home, with open walls and simple enclosures. “This residence translates that concept to contemporaneity, using natural lighting and ventilation to its utmost advantage,” says Ortiz.
“Paraty” is derived from the indigenous language Tupi, and it signifies the marriage of two words - Parati (a type of fish and also a type of manioc shrub) + y (river). “To bring back the rich history of the local culture, the Taperá House makes use of the traditional indigenous name, as well as the style, re-signifying a typology of architecture in a contemporary way,” he reiterates.
The architect also relays that the concept’s aim was to create a house that fully integrates with its exterior environment, taking advantage of natural light, landscape, and ventilation. “The Taperá style fit perfectly for the challenges found in the design, thus, becoming a driving force of the process,” Ortiz shares. The second aspect that greatly influenced the dwelling’s design, was the relationship between the architecture and its employed furniture design.
Traditional wooden joints of Brazilian furniture inspire the details of the structural columns, and rattan screens used as sunshades in the living room are some examples where elements of architecture and furniture design become one, to create a cohesive space in which complexity and essentiality participate in equal measure. The intervention helps to minimise “the use of hardware and maximise the integration between architecture and mobile interior elements,” according to the New York-based practice. Natural and fair toned stone clothe the floor, in contrast with the darker warm tones of the wooden window frames, and traditional Brazilian furniture.
Enveloped by nature, the minimal and modern Taperá House is separated into three levels with extensive glass facades. The first, social level, hosts the living and dining room, along with two kitchen areas. The main entrance here merges with the façade without creating a clear outline for itself, to homogenise the hierarchy between the three volumes. An indoor garden flanks this floor that is fitted with a unique fireplace; its living room is decorated with custom marble paintings, and a classic style oil painting suffuses tenderness and softly contrast the clean lines of the design. A private kitchen with a breakfast counter and a washing room are concealed behind a bamboo slats wall, kept adjacent to the social kitchen island here, to cater to different social needs.
The central level is populated by three expansive suites offering resplendent views of the surrounding natural vistas, seen via floor to ceiling windows that enhance the roof openings and laterals. The level below becomes the social terrace, with a solarium for social gatherings, outdoor dining and reading at the western end. The east side is fitted with a home-theatre, where one can choose between exposed windows or fully blacking out the room for a truly cinematic experience. Between these areas rests a glass enclosed, multi-purpose indoor patio, with furniture and art pieces that enliven the space.
Without doubt, the protagonist of the imaginary architecture is the slender, metallic, curved roof that shelters the separate volumes, making it seem like one level. Specific sized hollows in the light-weight rooftop filters natural light into the interior design to reduce the need of additional artificial lighting, while its landscaped surface helps bring a more intimate, nature-driven experience, blending into the lush site. Luscious local vegetation burgeon over the roof and the surrounding gardens, including bromelias, ferns and monsteras, to recreate the same ecosystem found in rainforest environments.
The roof is envisaged to protect the glass enclosed volumes from the direct influence of sun and natural elements. A gentle curvature that follows the natural topography of the site is introduced to create a horizontal aesthetic, and to minimise the visual footprint of the house in the sea of green. From above, it also seems part of the landscape, blurring the lines of perception of what is built, natural, inside or outside.
Ortiz reveals that for him, the most challenging part to design was the roof; the floorplan was developed quite straightforwardly. The roof, however, emerged in many iterations, all the more visually and architecturally complex than the final one. “Most options were curved, but I felt like they complicated the visual identity of the project. I went on to simplify the shape of the roof, providing a cleaner, more sophisticated look that lends it an iconic distinction. I believe it was the correct decision, and it made the project stand out,” he observes.
Preaching the use of natural materials, local timber is employed throughout the spacious residential design, encompassing the glazing as well as the neatly arranged furniture, lending warmth to the space. The furniture and décor flow as one with the architecture of the Taperá House, “creating an exciting and unified design language,” as per Oritz. Greenery wounds inside the house as well, popping up in loud pockets and subtle outlines, refreshing the earth toned interior, and helping the house truly manifest as a serene, contemporary refuge.