Interactive floor plan: BT House, Brazil, by Guilherme Torres
One of the latest projects by São Paulo-based architect Guilherme Torres, BT House is also the architect's own home, created by marrying traditional Brazilian architectural features and modern design.
One of the building's standout elements is its characteristic warm-brown brise soleil - an Eastern-style chequered-wood panel inherited from the Portuguese and renamed 'muxarabie'. This element has been used for centuries as a filter that allows air flow, at the same time controlling sunlight (and therefore temperature) inside the building. Here, it is also a key security feature. 'As soon as I saw the gently sloped plot surrounded by other houses, the idea of this large panel came to me, to ensure privacy for both the residents and the neighbours,' explains Torres.
The house is a minimal composition of rectangles - two parallel volumes made of brick and one of concrete, placed on top of the first two at a 90-degree angle. The concrete upper volume is protected by the wooden muxarable and contains eight bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms, a home theatre and a generous walk-in wardrobe for the master bedroom. Doors lead to a decked terrace over the lower brick volume.
The ground floor houses the family's public areas, furnished in a mix of contemporary and classic Brazilian design and some international pieces - including furnishings by Sérgio Rodrigues, Carlos Motta and Tom Dixon. Spaces include a living room, playroom, kitchen and two dining areas, which open up to the garden and pool area. Under the top level and between the two brick elements, a shaded green garden designed by Alex Hanazaki creates a cool refuge for the young family of four.