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House at Corcovado Hillside, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Wednesday 04 Jan 2012

Lightness and Permanence

Indio da Costa AUDT 
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Soaring over the breathtaking Rio landscape, a retreat that reserves a quiet and delicate atmosphere 

Embedded within the rocky Corcovado hillside, boldly cantilevering over the surrounding landscape, the house uncurtains a breath-taking panorama over the most beautiful icons of the city skyline: Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, Ipanema Beach, Guanabara Bay, Sugarloaf, Christ monument, and Pedra da Gávea and Dois Irmãos mountains.

The interiors are gradually revealed in a fluid interlocking of spaces, surrendered to the landscape. A diffuse separation between interior spaces and exterior terraces, frankly open to the view, create a rich palette of atmospheric qualities.

At ground floor, the main entrance opens to a generous living room, heart of the house. The lower level is dedicated to car access, services, and the children's bedrooms. The upper level is only partly enclosed, mostly occupied by terraces and gardens, offering a private penthouse to the owners.

Explicitly intended to bring plenty natural daylight and ventilation into every room, two clean cuts are drawn. A horizontal cut separates the ground and lower levels, creating a ventilated technical mezzanine with easy access to infrastructure and equipment, while a vertical cut divides program areas and directs vistas over the city.

Structure is defined by a mix of concrete and steel, in a clear tectonic representation of function. Concrete waffle slabs, post-tensioned at particularly wide spans, support steel I-beams that form semi-open cantilevered shelters for terraces and external circulation. Brise-soleils screen the intense Rio sunlight, creating a shadowed atmosphere of comfortable retraction in a situation of intense exposition.

The composition completes with two delicate and elegant concrete porticos - one at the entrance welcomes family friends with a warm embrace; another at the owner's penthouse reserves their intimacy. Integrated with carefully chosen art pieces - a mural painting by Adriano de Aquino and garden sculpture by Franz Weissman - landscape, architecture, and people are involved in a uniquely captivating experience.

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Indio da Costa AUDT

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