The project of this house, located in São José dos Campos, São Paulo, was commissioned by an elderly couple (87 and 79 years old), who were not happy living in an apartment.

Architects authors: Jorge Pessoa, Catherine Otondo, Marina Grinover
Project Team: Otávio Vaz Kovacs, Lívia Marquez, Matheus Tonelli, Floresta Testa, Julie Tricktt, Paula Saad, Rebeca Grinspum, Juliana Barsi, Fernando Túlio, Cadu Marino, Patrícia Mieko, Tânia Helou, Tiago Testa, Thais Marcussi.
Photographic Credits: Pedro Vannucchi

Kovacs House By Pessoa Arquitetos + Base Urbana - Sheet20The couple is formed by a plastic artist and a distinguished aircraft designer. As they have lived in a house designed by Oscar Niemeyer, set in the Aeronautics Institute of Technology (ITA), they craved to live in a modern house again, with integrated spaces, well illuminated by great glazed modules and well ventilated.

The house is set in a corner lot of 625m² and a slope of 5 meters. The best sight of the area is facing the lower part of the plot, the south face, where there is the garden area of the condominium. In order to get an optimal sun exposure in all rooms, a central courtyard was defined as the parti of the project and it organizes the whole program of the house.

Kovacs House By Pessoa Arquitetos + Base Urbana - Sheet21

The access of the house is in the upper part of the land, through the central courtyard and highlighted by a concrete slab, with a ceiling height of 2,30m, which covers the garage, the house entry and the kitchen. The difference of the ceiling height between this slab and the panel slab, that covers the other rooms of the house, creates a high horizontal opening, which provides great lighting and ventilation to the room. This is how the bathrooms are illuminated and ventilated as well.

Kovacs House By Pessoa Arquitetos + Base Urbana - Sheet22Due to the age of the residents, a ground floor house was a priority, besides being designed to people with reduced mobility. Therefore, the entire basic program of the house is on the same floor: living room, dining room, laundry, bathroom and three bedrooms (including the master one). Under the living room, making the most of the natural slope of the plot, there is the plastic artist studio, only room that there is not on the ground floor level.

Kovacs House By Pessoa Arquitetos + Base Urbana - Sheet24In the project design, it was sought an economy of elements. After the structure was built, the house was nearly complete. For the structural design, it was also used simple solutions, avoiding unnecessary efforts: exposed concrete pillars support the volume of the rooms, resulting in a light main façade; for the rest of the house, it was chosen a conventional structure of pillars, beams and masonry walls.

The exposed concrete is also used in the composition of the interior of the house: the pillars, the slab, the panel slab and the concrete furniture. In order to complete the design, it was selected a custom-made carpentry, aluminum gray frames and red hydraulic floor tiles that are used in all rooms of the house.

Kovacs House By Pessoa Arquitetos + Base Urbana - Sheet26For the volume of the house concept, it was chosen a simple shape, universal, that provides a great formal intensity that is highlighted, by contrast, amidst an architecture of several roofs and volumes, which is the feature of the other houses of the condominium. The great glazed panels provide the desired transparency and a big lawn garden, without walls, completely open to the street, emphasizes the generosity of the residents.


Architect and Urbanist graduated from Mackenzie University (1992), Specialist in Real Estate Business from the Armando Álvares Penteado Foundation – FAAP / SECOVI (2000), Master in Urban and Regional Planning from the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism of the University of São Paulo – FAUUSP (2008) and PhD student in Urban and Regional Planning from the same institution. In 2014, he won the APCA Award in the Architecture / Urbanity category for the Sapur Favela Redevelopment project. It is titular architect of the person Architects office. He was a founding partner and principal architect of BASE 3 Architects, from 2007 until its extinction in 2014. He is a professor at the Pan American School of Art and Design.


Architect and Urbanist, PhD at FAUUSP 2013, Professor at the São Carlos Institute of Architecture and Urbanism USP from 2015 to 2017, Professor at Mackenzie Presbyterian University since 2017, Organizer of OTONDO publications, Catherine (org). Butantã House – Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Ubu publisher, 2016; GRINOVER, Marina; OTONDO, Catherine (org). Paper models. ed. Cosac Naify, 2008.


Architect and Urbanist, Doctor at FAUUSP 2015, teacher at FAUUSP since 2016, teacher at Escola da Cidade since 2005, teacher at FAAP since 2015. book organizer RUBINO, Silvana; GRINOVER, Marina. Lina in writing. ed. Cosac Naify, 2010; GRINOVER, Marina; OTONDO, Catherine (org). Paper models. ed. Cosac Naify, 2008.


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