10 January 2017
Casa na Mata breathes with the nature surrounding it. It is immersed in the lush vegetation that dominates the city of Guarujá, in the state of São Paulo, Brazil. The compositional rigor of the residence designed by Marcio Kogan’s Studio MK27, with Samanta Cafardo, establishes a perfect harmony with the Brazilian rainforest. The project seems to take its inspiration from the ideas of Craig Ellwood, an exponent of Californian modernism between the 1950s and 1970s who believed that it was only through order and logic that it was possible to get architecture to blend in with the environment. The first level of the house is a slab detached from the ground, a threshold between nature and the human hand, cut out carefully along the profile of the mountain that acts as a backdrop to the construction. Only part of the floor is occupied by a volume, containing the children’s playroom. Above it, though, is set the imposing block of the second level: inside, the bedrooms are characterized by small verandas shaded by a system of wooden brise-soleil that can assume different configurations to suit the season and the weather. The top floor, finally, forms the social area of the building: here the interiors of the living room and kitchen face onto the ample terrace that is perceived as an extension of the surrounding space, while the infinity pool offers swimmers a view of the horizon stretching out endlessly before them. The careful use of materials also prevents the structure from being seen as a presence foreign to its environment. Raw concrete characterizes the sensory experience of moving around the building, evoking the roughness of the rock present on the site. The intermediate space of the staircase on the ground floor looks like it has been dug out of the concrete, and is illuminated by a work by the Danish artist Olafur Eliasson. And wood, used for the large horizontal surfaces of external decking and as a cladding for the volumes that make up the house, establishes a further degree of complicity between architecture and nature. Casa na Mata has received the prestigious Blueprint Award for the best design of a contemporary residential building.