Set on a sloping plot at the far end of Tenorio Beach in Ubatuba, a coastal resort in São Paulo, SPBR's Casa Ubatuba has a spectacular aspect and a design to match.

The site stretches right down to the sea shore, before ascending a 50 degree slope up to street level. Strict zoning laws protect the hillside and the scattering of mature trees throughout the site.

'These inspired the entire strategy used in the conception of the project,' says SPBR's Angelo Bucci. The house is placed atop three concrete columns which step down the hill. Above these are four massive steel beams, from which the floor slabs are hung. The strong structural form, engineered by Ibsen Puleo Uvo, acts as a frame for the windows and walls.

The house is arranged on multiple levels, creating many unexpected and thrilling viewpoints through which the ocean and surrounding forest can be glimpsed. With the upper floor terrace at street level connected by a bridge, visitors step down into the living areas, literally descending through the forest canopy encompassing them.

'This is a house that can smell, hear and see,' says Bucci, enthusing about the unparalleled relationship with nature and the rolling surf beyond.

TAGS: RESIDENTIAL ARCHITECTURE, BRAZIL, BRAZILIAN ARCHITECTURE