For the Browser section of NESS 3, our editor Magdalena Tagliabue talked with the Brazilian Architect about her practice over Zoom. The conversation became the article titled “On the Open, the Theatrical, and the Fragile,” which covers topics such as working with raw materials, going beyond the traditional architecture imaginary, and includes several of her projects, such as Humandiad Pavilion (2012) and the Vatican Chapel (2018). Extending the idea that both readers and users are also active participants of Juaçaba’s projects in the digital realm, we feature three houses.
Rio Bonito House
Casa Rio Bonito is a weekend home located in Rio Bonito de Cima, a mountain region east of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As the house is suspended from the ground, it is protected from moisture and weather while maintaining a visual connection to the river.
The “Three Peaks” nature reserve, situated in the Nova Friburgo mountains of the Rio Bonito hinterland, was the spot chosen for the residence-cum-retreat of the director of the museum images of the unconscious, Luiz Carlos Mello. Its proximity to the river was a deciding factor among the choices presented for such a project. Two stone walls of 1.10 meters, or 3 feet 7 inches, thick support four steel beams upon which rest the floors and roofing. The weight of the structure is in contrast to the airiness of the empty space (10 meters or 21 feet high), enhanced by two skylights that separate the upper story from the structural walls. On the back wall, the windows are gashes from floor to ceiling, providing vertical continuity for the horizontality of the skylights. The house, thus suspended from the ground, is protected from humidity and inclement weather, and, at the same time, allows for a view of the river passing by in the distance. In the stone walls, a log stove and a fireplace, one on either side of the house, make for effective heating. On the outside, a staircase built by the staggered removal of stones from the wall leads to the terrace: a vantage point for stargazing.
Water and fire, weight and weightlessness, the archaic and the modern merging in a unique cosmic habitat.
DATE: 2005 / LOCATION: Lumiar, Brasil / AREA: 5000 m2 (plot) 70 m2 (built) / PROGRAM: House / STATUS: Built / Structural engineer: Max engenharia / PHOTOS: Nelson Kon. Courtesy Carla Juaçaba
Santa Teresa House
Invisible from the street, the house is like a pavilion that parallels the curves of a plot. It is located on a high level in a green and hilly area. No trees were removed. One level contains public areas and the other private rooms. Both areas are connected by a glass gallery adjacent to the street. On the opposite side, both sectors have panoramic views. Four different slopes make up a veneer roof structure covered with wood on the inside.
The Residence sits on a slope in Santa Teresa, a hilly neighborhood in the central region of Rio de Janeiro, on a densely green area and over ten meters of unevenness. It was built near the street, next to the highest levels, where the access is. The house develops as a pavilion parallel to the curves of the plot, totally adapted to the terrain, and almost invisible from the street. Thus, the house develops in two floors taking the slope of the terrain. Built in a preserved area of Rio de Janeiro, all trees would not be removed.
At the highest level, there is the entry, the kitchen, the dining room, and the bedrooms, while the living room is on the lower level, two meters down. Facing the slope, every room offers panoramic views. The two levels are connected by a glazed gallery, located next to the street.
The roof is the most important element of the design, composed of four different inclination lines and two different materials.
The biggest challenge was to develop the project on a low budget. This explains the repetition of the structure. It was also important to open the house entirely to the forest while making its entry almost invisible.
The frosted glass used on the slope next to the street is an important element of the project design. At night, artificial light changes the perception and makes this part of the house look like a giant lighthouse.
DATE: 2017 / LOCATION: Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil / AREA: 140 m2 (built) / PROGRAM: House / STATUS: Built / Structural engineer: Cerne Engenharia / PHOTOS: Federico Cairoli. Courtesy Carla Juaçaba
Errata: In NESS 3 “What an Object?”, Santa Teresa House credit year: 2008 is incorrect. The project year is 2017.
Varanda House is in Rio de Janeiro on that continuous border between nature and the city. The centenary trees were the only pre-existence element on the site. The place is so beautiful, according to Carla Juaçaba, that she had the desire to live it untouched.
The geography of the region, is in a mountain valley and subject to flooding, which is why the was suspended at 80cm.
The house divides the field into two lengths. The skylight (24m x.60m) is an opening that accentuates the division.
The view goes beyond the house, and the parallel solid and white walls do not interrupt the view. Private rooms are at the extremes of the house while the living room is in the center, acting as an open terrace.
The steel structure was built in fifteen days. The roof is made of zinc-aluminum tiles and was added in one day.
DATE: 2007 / LOCATION: Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil / AREA: 1152 m2 (plot) 140 m2 (built) / PROGRAM: House / STATUS: Built / PROJECT: Carla Juaçaba / INTERNS: Joana Ramalhete, Nina Lucena / STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: D’angeli serviços de engenharia / CALCULATING ENGINEER: Pirajá / INSTALLATIONS: Simon Merheb / LIGHTING: Joana Marcier / PHOTOS: Fran Parente. Courtesy Carla Juaçaba