Italian-born, New York-based designer / artist / architect Gaetano Pesce is known the world over for his unconventional, avant-garde, and imaginative architectural designs. He’s a rule breaker with a passion for color, shape, and state-of-the-art technology, which is evident in his recent architectural phenomenon on the beaches of Bahia, Brazil.
Bahia House by Gaetano Pesce
Pesce’s private vacation home (dubbed Casa do Artista), is visually stimulating and over-the-top, but at the same time, in some ways, economically sensible. The exterior is covered in multi-colored glass and tiles to resemble fish scales, while the interior is constructed from some of the area’s local resources. For example, one of the pavilions is made from rubber, which is locally manufactured, and has been infused with lavender to mask the rubber’s scent. (Can you imagine? Scented architecture!) Interested? These digs are for sale by Sotheby’s Realty, as the designer just doesn’t have the time to jaunt to Brazil as often as he would like.
There is a legend, which says that the region of the colonial city of Paraty and Angra dos Reis (between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro) has 365 islands, one for each day of the year.Two boxes of reinforced concrete, rest fixed connected on the mountainside of one of these islands; two modern prisms between the large colossal stones of the Brazilian coast. This is Paraty House designed by Marcio Kogan Architects from Brasil.
Paraty House by Marcio Kogan
The volumes project outward from the mountain, almost abreast of the beach, in an 8-meters cantilever. The house, of structural ingenuity, finds balance in the topography of the land, constituting an extensive open doorway and living space in the practically untouched nature.In the rocks of Paraty, in the dense rain forest of the island, poisonous spiders discover this orthogonal volume and penetrate the grass that coats the slab. Moving their fore and hind legs quickly, they reclaim the site. The spiders continue on their way into the house and penetrate into an important furniture collection of the XX century designed, among others, by George Nakashima, Luis Barragan, Lina Bo Bardi, Sérgio Rodrigues, Joaquim Tenreiro and José Zanine Caldas. The spiders become lost in the upholstered chair.
Paraty House by Marcio Kogan
The inhabitants arrive by boat: the entrance to the house, already protected by the slab, after stepping on the sand, is via a metallic bridge positioned over a crystal-lined reflecting pool. The bridge leads to stairs connecting to the lower volume.This volume contains part of the program of the house: living room, kitchen and service area.The continual internal area has a 27-meter span and huge glass windows allow for the view, the sea.
The same entrance stairs lead to the upper volume, which lodges the bedrooms.In the front part of the house, retractile panels of eucalyptus sticks protect the bedrooms from the sun. The spaces that face the mountain have small internal patios with zenithal lighting and the use of exposed reinforced concrete grants a striking texture to the walls.
The entire top of the house is covered with terraces, observatories for the inhabitants, for the poisonous spiders, or garden for the sculptures and for the medicinal plants and edible herbs.
With his Gru Chapel, the young Brazilian architect Yuri Vital created a poular church for a poor community of the city of Guarulhos, Sao Paulo. Yuri’s talent and social initiative, already prooved with his Box House project, was once more honored, this time by the most important Award for young Brazilian architects, 9° Prêmio Jovens Arquitetos 2009.
Gru Chapel by Yuri Vital
Here is what Yuri Vital explains:
In Guarulhos suburbs, close to the Guarulhos International Airport, was elaborated a simple popular chapel. The client asked for a low cost project that should also be able to become a great religious reference for the region.
It was created a unadorned, pure and simple monolith, offering a great lightness and minimizing the cost of construction. The lot has a 3 meters inclination, which allowed the idealization of a street level entrance, while accommodating the parking lot at the gap.
Gru Chapel by Yuri Vital
With the project, it was also asked areas of specific activities (such as the administration, library, cafeteria, and restrooms). The accesses to these areas are made independently, allowing the visitors to exclusively access the area they want to, without interfering in the religious space.
The largest distance in between columns is 8.4 meters, so that the chapel is entirely made with pre-cast slabs, facilitating the construction and reducing the cost, due to the reduce of the need of time.
To gain flexibility, the parking lot has no pillars and the whole weight of the monolith is distributed by the lateral blades. The mezzanine is supported by the wall on the left and by a small metal structure.
The cover is made with a metallic thermal tile, supported also by a metallic structure, which is embedded in the side of the chapel. This coverage has two side sheds for lighting.
Gru Chapel by Yuri Vital
The chapel is lit mostly by natural light, with three main points: the very front facade (composed by a skin “Cobogós”), and two lateral cuts on the roof. These zeniths are protected from rain by a skin of laminated glass.
The library and cafeteria also have natural light due to a glass skin on the sides.
Last year at the tender age of 28 years the Brazilian architect Yuri Vidal received the Award of the Brasilian Institute of Architects in the category social housing. His awarded project, the ‘Box House’ is a residential complex for 17 low-cost units.
But let the architect explain it better:
“With the main duty to tell the world how architecture can contribute to good housing solutions for those who has a less-favored income, this project begins with the ideal that social housings can unite both aesthetic and functional qualities, with no need of high costs.”
“A project of a residential complex was needed, and it should combine low cost and a new architecture, to enforce the ideal of quality in a new developer enterprise. Thus, using a cleaning and formal rationality, it was possible to develop a set of 17 low-cost units.
The structural solution, achieved through innovative ideal, show a mixed structure of masonry and conventional structure in which the slab with a large windward sheet is mounted in a beam (flat, so as not to be noticed in the rear below), which in turn connects to the main structure of the house.”
“In a high place and with an expressive slope, the project has an inside street which connects units, providing an axis of great visibility of the surroundings.
Each residence has a one car garage above. To don`t exceed the legal high limit of 6 meters tall established by the city, it was designed a mid-low level to accommodate the garage, deposit and a working area, on the next floor (mid-high level), there is the living room, toilet, kitchen and the service area. The second floor accommodates two bedrooms and a bathroom.
The water tower stands as a structural, plastic and low cost solution to the project, because it is located on the front facade of each unity, giving a individual touch, while concentrating all wet area in only one point.
The details of the project are all largely concerned, mostly to provide economy. It has been described all the way l from the edge of drippers in all slabs, to the interior of the water tank.
The total area is 1011 m², and the area of each unit is 46 m².”
Osler House is located in Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, a city which is a world reference for urban planning. It is very similar in the following with Gama Issa House – also designed by Marcio Kogan. Basically, we still have the parallelogram box, but the second top part of the box is enlarged in dimensions from its base and is pivoted and rotated to a 90 degree angle. Osler House basically forms the letter T when one looks at the site plan.
'Osler House' by Marcio Kogan
The plan of Osler House is arranged by a ground floor parallelogram volume, a suspended volume and a deck with an outdoor pool. The concrete and wooden base volume houses the master bedroom, another bedroom, bathroom, laundry room, the utility area and the garage. The vertical wooden shutters offer a natural light filtration while letting the sun shine in. However, they can be open out entirely to connect the interior with the exterior, and furthermore bring more natural light and cross-ventilation into the house. These vertical wooden shutters are evocative of other elements which are commonly used in the modern city.
At this year’s Milan furniture fair the German manufacturer ClassiCon presented some famous classic creations by Sergio Rodriges, a real doyen of Brazilian furniture design. With his work Rodrigues managed to give Brazilian design its own identity and with his casual ‘Mole’ armchair he attracted well-deserved international recognition – “modern furniture in the spirit of Brazilian tradition,” as Oskar Niemeyer remarked. From this year on ClassiCon will be marketing some of these classics. We had the honour of interviewing Sergio Rodrigues in Milan.
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