A house conceived as a contemplation platform, wide open to the views and to maximize sunlight, so vital in a mountain climate. The whole house develops in one level, suspended from the ground, protected by a generous overhanging roof, accessed through a stone floor forecourt, avoiding rain water, so intense in the region, keeping the house free from moisture.

Project name:  Águas Claras Residence
Company name: Rodrigo Simão Arquitetura
Project location: Petrópolis, Rio de Janeiro, RJ,  Brazil
Completion Year: 2015
Building area: 157,83m2

Other participants:

Structural Engineering – Concrete Structure: José Luis Peixoto Engenharia
Management / Coordination: Rodrigo Simão Arquitetura / José Luis Peixoto Engenharia
Foundation Project: José Luis Peixoto Engenharia
Lighting Design: Rodrigo Simão Arquitetura
Interior Design: Rodrigo Simão Arquitetura / Katharina Welper
Landscaping Project: Rodrigo Simão Arquitetura
Hydraulic / Electrical Install Projects: José Luis Peixoto Engenharia

Photo credits: André Nazareth

©️André Nazareth

The steel structure made possible spans such as 8,40m, allowing wide opening windows (up to 60% of the span), creating open spaces in dialogue with the garden and the beautiful landscape of the region. In the same way, living room and kitchen are integrated with the wood oven contributing to the thermal functionality of the house and the big refectory table extending the pleasure of cooking and being at the table to the rest of the house.

The flooring in most of the house is polished concrete, from the slab itself. Polished in the act of concreting – usually used in industries and gas stations because of its high impact and abrasion  resistance, has smooth and hygienic finish. This option results in a huge economy of construction phases and materials, besides being an extremely perennial low cost solution.

Built through a CEF (Caixa Econômica Federal) financing program, by a couple who personally managed the construction process, hiring an architect, an engineer and a construction firm. They couple was very successful in coordinating building and payment cronogram in a very complex process of building phases, receiving regular inspections and receiving the financing parcels.

©️André Nazareth

Optimization and feasibility where a central focus of the design, without compromising the quality of the finishings and perenniality. The concepts of an open space, the use of materials in their natural form and integration with nature seek to inspire in the family simplicity and a functional and integrated lifestyle.

Economy and optimization of construction phases:

1- Deploying laminated steel structure reduced finishings to painting

2- Deploying 40mm thermo-acoustic Masterboard panels(Brasilit) as a surface for the shingle roof- eliminated many construction services like ceillig recess, scaffolding rental, ceiling finishings, getting practically done when put in place, receiving just  a second resin layer in the internal part when put in place. This compact 40mm solution is also very efficient against animals that usually settle in roof’s empty spaces, like ants, raccons, birds, spiders, etc The dining table top, measuring 3,05×1,20×0,04m,  is also made from a single board of this material that compound the roof.

3- The masonry finishings is a result of a thin single layer of acryilic plaster over a thick ready to use cement mass, that is sanded and sealed, creating a smooth texture but with nuances of sanding. This handmade finishing subtly echoes rustic countryside houses, contributing to the humanization of the space where there is a lot of presence of  industrial materials like concrete, alumminum, steel.

©️André Nazareth

4- The polished concrete floor, wich is the slab itself polished when still wet, eliminates leveling  mass, mortar, tiles, grout and labor. It is a continuous surface used through the entire house except in bedrroms and toilets. With very good impact and abrasion resistance, the total cost of the floor is around R$14,00 considering material and the service. It is a very clean, perennial and low manteinance solution, with no joins.

5- The exposed concrete thick wall in the living room revealing the wood formwork, eliminates finishings, and even being a cold material, it humanizes the space with its handcrafted aspect, resembling wood.

Efficient Design / Sustainability

1- Large glass openings, turned towards the landscape, to north and  northeast maximize direct, that contributes to thermal comfort and to a healthier environment to breathe. In the rooms, alumminum frames with 6mm common glass are wide opened to the views and have a great cost/perreniality/performance ratio.

©️André Nazareth

2- Thermo-acoustic Masterboard panels used in the ceiling and natural crossed ventilation reduce future cost with heating or air-conditiong.

3- The shape of the roof gets higher in the living room, by the varanda, promoting thermal convection when the varanda doors are opened. If it is necessary to keep the warmth(frequently it is), it is just necessary to keep these doors closed.

Acessbility: The whole house develops in one single level, as a platform, with low thresholds and no stairs.

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