Brazilian House Merges Indoors With Outdoors

If the ultimate goal of a green building is to blend easily into the surrounding environment, while also reducing energy needs, a new house north of São Paulo in Brazil succeeds by partially erasing the line between indoors and outdoors.

Designed by Studio MK27 , founded by São Paulo architect Márcio Kogan, the MM House appears amid the wooded landscape as a long, low ridge, covered with a green roof to merge with the gentle slope of the property.

Image via Studio MK27

Image via Studio MK27

The house retains some of Kogan’s signature heavy modernist features, with ample use of concrete and a strong horizontal perspective, but also provides natural ventilation and draws in sunlight from virtually every direction along the sides.

Retractable wooden doors, reflected in pool on main patio. Image via Studio MK27.

Retractable wooden doors, reflected in pool on main patio. Image via Studio MK27.

Located in Bragança Paulista, a town on the northern outskirts of São Paulo, MM House is basically a long, linear rectangle intersected at one end by a wide wooden patio, situated perpendicular to the main axis. The most prominent feature is the massive concrete roof, covered in vegetation to provide cooler temperatures under the hot tropical sun and to help soak up the heavy rains.

Living room open to the elements under massive concrete roof. Image via Studio MK27.

Living room open to the elements under massive concrete roof. Image via Studio MK27.

The exterior walls, however, are the most magical aspect. Made of a long series of sliding glass doors, the outside walls can be opened to let the outside air into every room, making the huge roof appear weightless. The glass envelope is also covered with wooden louvered slats that can remain closed to block harsh morning or evening sun, or can be retracted, accordion-style, to provide 360-degree views and extra ventilation.

Open-air patio at night. Image via Studio MK27.

Open-air patio at night. Image via Studio MK27.

The effect is most dramatic in the main living room area. When the walls are removed, the outside patio and interior space become one, letting in cool forest breezes and providing access to the patio and swimming pool. The bar, lounge area and barbecue pit remained under the roof, but are otherwise almost completely open to the outside elements.

Randy Woods is a Seattle-based writer and editor with 20+ years of experience in the business publishing world. A former managing editor of Seattle Business, iSixSigma, Claims and Waste Age magazines, he has covered topics that include newspaper publishing, entrepreneurism, green businesses, insurance, environmental protection and garbage hauling (yes, really). He also contributes to the Career Center Blog for The Seattle Times and edits a photography magazine called PhotoMedia. When not working, he likes to hide out in Seattle movie theaters and attend film festivals—even on sunny days.