Located in Sao Paulo’s Pinheiros neighbourhood, which takes its name from the dense subtropical pine forest that used to cover the area, remains of which crop up between the low-rising housing, Casa Pinheiros is a family residence of modernist sensibility and refined elegance. Designed by Brazilian practice Felipe Hess Arquitetos as a subtle interplay of cubist volumes and rendered in a coral hue that harmoniously stands out against its verdant surroundings, the house provides a comfortable home that is both sheltered from the extremities of the subtropical climate and open to its delights.
Set back from the street, the building occupies the front part of a long and narrow plot on the back of which is a lush, grassed garden. Although it appears as a solid block, the building is made out of two volumes, a taller block housing the public areas, and a shorter, slightly narrower block on top containing the private family quarters. A third volume, an elongated, one-storey service block housing the kitchen and other auxiliary functions, is inserted lengthways into the ground floor living space. Made out of raw concrete, it protrudes out of the main building volume long enough to create a small shaded terrace for outdoor dining.
The heart of the house, the open-plan living and dining area on the ground floor, is a double-height space orientated towards the back garden which it enjoys generous views of, courtesy of the floor-to-ceiling glazed folding terrace doors that once open, extend the space onto a paved patio and the garden beyond. With additional lateral sliding windows overlooking a patch of exotic vegetation planted along the boundary wall, the space is at one with its verdant surroundings while also enjoying natural ventilation.
Overlooking the lounge area, the mezzanine level atop the service block is used as a library. Stretching along the entire length of the space, a bespoke timber bookcase holds a plethora of books that create a colourful backdrop of orderly disorder that stands in visual juxtaposition with the verdant tapestry of organic shapes on the opposite side of the living room, formed by the planted foliage.
The interior design shares the architecture’s clean-cut modernism. Featuring a sparse palette of white walls and timber flooring, it is complemented by black accents such as the slim window frames, trimmed balustrades and living room fire stove, as well as a selection of upholstered and wooden furniture of mid-century sensibility and neutral tones that perfectly complement the interior’s aesthetic of unpretentious refinement and laid back elegance.
On top of the building, reached by an external staircase accessed through the first floor private quarters, a rooftop deck provides panoramic views of the neighbourhood. Surrounded on all sides by greenery, prudently short so as not obstruct the vistas, the deck is ideal both for sunbathing during hot summer days and for enjoying a relaxing drink while watching the sun go down.