Mature trees stretch to the sun in the green space that clusters around Casa Biblioteca, a scholar’s home. The glass walled house takes in all of the beauty that this Brazilian landscape has to offer, gratefully absorbing the vibrant view into its entire 200 square metre footprint. This unique place was designed as a placid retreat where the owner could quietly read and contemplate whilst immersed within nature, away from the pace of Brazil’s metropolitan buzz. The build, designed by Atelier Branco Arquitetura, is a stepped structure that rises over three planes to accommodate its quiet hillside plot in the small town of Vinhedo.
It is possible to see right through from one side of the glass walled house to the other, so that the structure barely seems to be there in the landscape at all. The green leafy view and sunshine drifts through, as though they are at one with the internal living space.
An external staircase climbs up the grassy hillside. The outdoor steps make the ascent to the top of the property into an easy, tranquil stroll.
The glass living room is a double height volume beneath a flat roof. The same flat roof continues all the way to the back of the property over two more platform floors of ascending height.
The owner is a renowned scholar of the history of political thought. He requested the design of this leisurely retreat to serve as a midway haven between São Paulo and the State University in Campinas at which he has held teaching posts since the 1980s. Inside the contemplative hideaway, mid century modern furniture serves the open airy living room. A dining set stands to one side of the lowermost floor, and a lounge with mid century modern sofa furnishes the other.
Up on the midway platform floor, a rocking lounge chair is positioned for gazing out upon the lush vegetation, to get lost in thought amongst the leaves.
A more traditional rocking chair sits at the opposite side of the same floor level. An unusual high backed chair design is penetrable by sunlight and green views.
With lack of solid walls, power points are positioned flat in the wood floors.
Wooden steps, which give short rise to the next platform floor of the home, are built into the design of a bespoke wooden bookcase. A bird figurine and other sculptures are positioned in amongst the tomes.
A colourful screen stands by a clothes rack and a mid century modern chair in the bedroom.
The structure was created almost entirely with in-situ cast concrete, with attention to detail and constructional acumen that are characteristic of Atelier Branco projects. Setting up in 2012, founding members of Atelier Branco, Matteo Arnone and Pep Pons, built a portfolio of furniture and fittings, professional office spaces and commercial showrooms, as well as residential projects throughout Brazil.
The shower is a shaded and peaceful zone, perfect for this place of reverie.
Settling back into the hillside, this majestic home embodies attentive research into architectural form.
External staircases rise on both sides of the property, linked by narrow patios on the level planes, to form one complete ring terrace.
The simple exterior rests quietly amongst the trees.
Window frames cross in an untamed and asymmetrical fashion, at undulating heights and changing widths.
The metal window frames and concrete support columns are kept as narrow as possible so as not to disturb the connection with the home’s outdoor space.
The flat roof connects with the top of the green hill at the back of the house, where more trees flourish.
Decking covers the full area of the large flat roof, providing an open area to sit out under the sky and sun. Towering mature trees provide some blissful shade over one half of the exposed deck.
Two benches sit across from one another on the roof deck, providing a place to sit and read outside, or to lay down and gaze up at the stars by night.
A wide waterway flows around the gutter edge of the flat top roof.
Stairs lead down from the top of the hill to inside the home.
The waterway around the roof reflects the sky and the clouds.
Architectural drawing showing the terrain.
Roof terrace plan.
Floor plan illustrating two private bedrooms at the back of the home, positioned up on the third uppermost level, each with their own private ensuite bathrooms. There is also a toilet on the side of the house that can be accessed from one of the outdoor staircases.
Section drawing showing the rise of the three platform levels inside the hillside home. The main living area with lounge and dining room are positioned on the lowest level; a contemplation and occasional work area resides midway; bedrooms and bathrooms team up at the top.
Side elevation showing external staircase design all the way to the top of the hill.
Side elevation showing external staircase design on the opposite side of the house.
Glass front face of the house at the base of the hill.
House fascia and roof beams running back through the full depth of the house. This drawing also illustrates the internal staircase that cuts right through the centre of the living space on each level, and divides the two double bedrooms and bathrooms.