© Haruo Mikami
VILA RICA HOUSE
© Haruo Mikami
From the architects. The project is located in a rural area, 40km away from the city center of Brasília. The topography has a slight downward slope towards the back of the lot, where a valley with native vegetation dominates the view.
The program was distributed in two perpendicular pavilions positioned on slightly different levels. Both pavilions are slightly elevated from the ground for two main reasons: to allow the preservation of the existing topography and to prevent small animals such as insects and lizards, from entering the house. The swimming pool is located in a third plateau that was positioned on a lower level. The first pavilion is where the living room, veranda, garage and other services are located. The second pavilion, close to the swimming pool, houses the bedrooms. Two open elevated walkways connect both pavillions. The idea was to maximize the direct contact with the local weather conditions such as wind, smell and sound during the daily use of the house.
All the construction materials were chosen based on two main premises: they should age well under the natural weather conditions wherever needed without the need for constant maintenance and they should never “hide” their “natural” appearance under layers of plaster or paint. Exposed concrete was used in the structure and fixed furniture such as the dining table, benches, wood-fired oven and the shelves. Polished concrete was used for the internal floors. Only one type of sandblasted natural stone was used in all external floors, including inside the swimming pool. One type of plywood was used in parts of the furniture, combined with pieces of bespoke ironwork. A single layer of 12cm thick solid ceramic bricks was used to build all the walls, thus the structural columns are never embedded inside the partitions. The mild temperatures of the local weather allowed us to dismiss any extra insulation.
The local labor had extensive knowledge for building the brickwork, however, it didn’t have any previous experience in building exposed concrete. Therefore, instead of trying to achieve a smooth finishing for the concrete, we decided to assume all the imperfections that were inherent to the building process. Marks left by the timber shuttering were not sanded away and minor defects were not corrected.
All the bathrooms have roofless internal gardens that allow natural light and ventilation. A brickwork lattice covers two levels of a concrete structure that works as water tower, creating room for the water heating equipment underneath it.
The landscape design aims to restore many specimens from the original landscape of Brazilian Savannah.