The conceptual goal of this project was to develop a two-story house that visually appeared to be a one-story structure. For this, we raised the main ground level of the house by 1.5 meter, creating a lower, half buried floor, but still receiving natural lighting and ventilation.

Studio Name: Jacobsen Arquitetura
Design Team: Paulo Jacobsen, Bernardo Jacobsen, Edgar Murata, Christian Rojas, Jaime Cunha Junior, Veridiana Ruzzante
Interior Design Team: Eza Viegas, Heloísa Zarpelon, Isabel Benoliel, Caroline de Oliveira
Site Area: 1.000 m²
Built Area: 470 m²
Year: 2014
Location: Paraty, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Photography Credits: Pedro Kok

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©Pedro Kok

We located all the service and leisure areas, such as a home theater, exercise room and sauna, on this floor. The level for the social and private areas was distributed in two similar rectangular volumes. These volumes were laid out in a parallel, although shifted, manner. The blocks were linked by a covering that also formed the overhang, generating a circulation space that, while closed, appears to be external. The living room comes to touch the ground level and, therefore, has a higher ceiling. Next to the street, the construction detaches from the ground, since there is no lower floor at this point.

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©Pedro Kok

Despite the mandatory use of a sloping roof and ceramic roofing tiles, the house’s covering appears to be flat, since from the outside all that can be seen is the wooden overhang and glass. The very slight slope we created is only visible from the inside. The format of the triangular pool was determined by the limits of the construction itself.

RT House By Jacobsen Arquitetura - Sheet13
©Pedro Kok

Structurally, we used reinforced concrete for the foundations and the half-buried floor, columns and metallic beams for the main floor and a wooden structure for the roof.

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©Pedro Kok

The main finishing materials are charred wood and Travertine marble.


Jacobsen is a Brazilian architecture and interior design studio, born in Rio de Janeiro, that seek the development of projects which propose intense integration between the built environment and its natural context.

The potential relationships established between architectural design and the exuberant nature of Rio’s landscapes have contributed to the development of the concept of tropical architecture, which reflects the creation of a contemporary aesthetic language based on intense dialogue with architecture of colonial and indigenous roots, also influenced by modernism.

Always committed to the intentions and desires of the customers, Jacobsen’s projects explore the proximity to the territory, the interpretation of the context and the use of natural materials.

Paulo Jacobsen’s forty-five-year legacy, combined with Bernardo’s international professional experience in Europe and Japan, contributed to the expansion of Jacobsen Arquitetura’s activities around the world. Located at the cities of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Lisbon, the office develops architecture and interior design on a global context. The diverse set of projects – carried out in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Oceania – increases the challenge of designing such a diversity of architectural programs, including residences, hotels, buildings and museums.

The authorship is conceived entirely by our partners and is a fundamental principle that guides our projects. The notion of tropical architecture, the search for adapting the building to the environmental conditions, the integration between outdoor and indoor spaces, as well as the experimentation of cutting edge technologies, can be considered the main elements that oversee the design reasoning of the studio. Through the architectural object, Jacobsen studio spatially elaborate concepts such as fluidity, transparency, luminosity and structural lightness, in view of the search for the true concept of sustainability


Rethinking The Future (RTF) is a Global Platform for Architecture and Design. RTF through more than 100 countries around the world provides an interactive platform of highest standard acknowledging the projects among creative and influential industry professionals.

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