Almost imperceptible to people passing by on the street, Studio Arthur Casas’s MP House is located on the Quinta da Baroneza estate about ninety kilometres from San Paolo in Brazil. On this steeply sloped lot characterised by luxuriant nature Arthur Casas built the first of two houses on the Quinta da Baroneza estate.
The architect who designed the Brazilian pavilion for Expo Milano 2015, Arthur Casas, works on the theme of the country villa typical of upper-class San Paolo society, treating the building as a “consequence” of nature and the landscape and ensuring that it blends in with them. The MP house stands on the Quinta da Baroneza estate, a large estate about an hour and a half's drive from San Paolo, on a steeply sloped lot near a golf course, a lake and the Rio Atibaia. On the highest level is a lawn, bounded by a railing and a path leading to the austere Corten door of a narrow, deep wooden volume. Nothing else is visible from the street, as the MP house is built entirely below street level.
It looks like the gateway to a panoramic spot on the Quinta da Baroneza estate, but it is actually the entrance to the villa, designed like a viewpoint. Beyond the door, the volume, which turns out to be an architectural box containing the main staircase, offers three directions of vision, three big windows: one at the front, down to the ground floor, and two on either side, framing views of nature. Going down the stairs, the side vision disappears and all we see is the central window, introducing the guest into the intimate heart of the home, which occupies the two lower levels, with bedrooms on the first floor and a living area on the ground floor. The bedrooms are not directly in contact with nature, but have views of it thanks to the way the house is terraced. The ground floor and the mezzanine level are set up to communicate with nature: the outer walls open up to the landscape around them with sliding doors, and the parquet inside becomes a deck extending into the garden. The TV room on the mezzanine level is suspended over the swimming pool, which seems to extend from the inside of the home out over the Rio Atibaia below. Here, a large window with a 90 degree angle clearly invites people to dive right into the pool from where they are sitting. The visual angles between the doors, windows, sliding doors and partially dividing elements such as the living room chimney or the glass railings underline the fluidity of the interior layout, designing a unitary space in a proportion to the totality of the landscape outside.
This relationship is also underlined by the building’s organic shape, in which the clearly distinguished parts of the terraces, pergolas and jutting volumes, degrading according to the slope of the ground, find a superior chromatic harmony in the use of wood and brick cladding: the volume of the staircase, covered with Brazilian teak, distinguishes the two wings of the home, made of recycled brick from demolished buildings.
Design: Studio Arthur Casas
Project head: Arthur Casas
Assistant: Regiane Khristian
Location: San Paolo (Brazil)
Structural design: Edatec Engenharia
Landscape design: Gil Fialho
Built surface: 997.53 m2
Lot size: 3.243,55 mq
Project start: 2007
Completion of work: 2010
External cladding of brick from demolished buildings and Brazilian teak
Interior furnishings: Rug (Nani Chinellato); Sofas (Montenapoleone and Dpot); Armchair Trançada (Design by Arthur Casas for Casa Matriz); Anel Chair Ricardo Fasanello (Dpot); Wood stool (Ilha do Ferro); Puff ( Casual interiores); Triangular dining table (Design Arthur Casas for Dpot); Chair K2 (koi Design UK); Floor lamp AJ (Belux); Coffee tables and banches) Etel Interiores Trançada (Design Arthur Casas for the Matriz home); Anel Chair Ricardo Fasanello (Dpot); Wood stool (Ilha do Ferro); Puff (Casual interiores); Triangular dining table (Design Arthur Casas for Dpot); Chair K2 (koi Design UK); Floor lamp AJ (Belux); Coffee tables and benches (Etel Interiores)
Photos: © Leonardo Finotti