Perfect poise: a Brazilian house designed around a ramp and an art collection

Ramp house
Set within a leafy Sao Paulo suburb, Ramp house is the latest residential offering by studio mk27
(Image credit: Fernando Guerra)

'The inspiration for this house,’ says Renata Furlanetto of studio mk27, ’was the client’s art collection and a ramp. The house was built around them.’ The explanation sounds almost like a throwaway line, but its reification as a solid, three-dimensional house in a quiet leafy São Paulo neighbourhood is gratifyingly breathtaking. 

In many ways, the aptly named Ramp House bears all the trademarks of Marcio Kogan’s studio. The living room, invariably the focus of the Brazilian architect’s attention, is an elongated right-angled volume sheathed in raw concrete that opens into a sheltered 4m-wide verandah that, in turn, leads into a minimalist landscape. 

Of course, the almost careless ease with which the interiors translate into the exterior in a very complex way, solves the problem of Brazil’s warm days and blinding sunlight while continuing a dialogue that the architects describe is based on ’the tradition of Brazilian architecture, both colonial and modern, which used historically analogous spaces for spatial transitions.’

Floor plan

(Image credit: Fernando Guerra)

Take an interactive tour of Ramp House

On the building’s east side, shielded by a full ground-to-roof wall of concrete breeze-blocks, is a covered 25.5m long ramp that pin-turns its way up from the ground level to connects the living room with the bedrooms and small home offices on the upper levels. 

The sleight of hand intervention continues with a ground floor facade of local timber that folds into the interior, becomes the roof liner that, in turn, folds back into the ramp to provide a soothing contrast to the concrete breeze-blocks. 

All of which sets the stage for the owners’ rare collection of African art. ’Our brief,’ Furnaletto goes on, ’was to create a home that in the future could become a foundation, but without the feeling of living inside a museum.’

The architect says the Ramp House’s decor and interior design - here, the wonderfully intimate but spare mood is the work of the studio’s Diana Radomysler - was conceived as a fundamental part of the architecture. Specific structural designs for the display of African masks, for instance, are balanced by a mix old and new furniture pieces by Joaquim Tenreiro, Sergio Rodrigues, Vladimir Kagan and George Nakashima. 

’The brief,’ says Furlanetto, ’was resolved through the architectural promenade, the smooth connections between different environments, the coziness brought by the use of natural materials, and the blending between art and everyday objects.’ It is, in other words, another understated triumph for Kogan and his team. 

Art collection

The aptly named house, was designed around the owner’s art collection and a ramp

(Image credit: Fernando Guerra)

Marcio Kogan’s studio

The house bears all the trademarks of Marcio Kogan’s studio, such as the open plan living area...

(Image credit: Fernando Guerra)

The garden

...which opens to become one with the garden outside

(Image credit: Fernando Guerra)

Different levels

A ramp runs along the house’s elongated volume, uniting different levels

(Image credit: Fernando Guerra)

4m-wide verandah

The raw concrete structure opens into a sheltered 4m-wide verandah

(Image credit: Fernando Guerra)

Concrete breeze-blocks

This 25.5m long ramp is shielded by a full ground-to-roof wall of concrete breeze-blocks

(Image credit: Fernando Guerra)

Living room

The ground floor houses the building’s main living room and common areas... 

(Image credit: Fernando Guerra)

Small home offices

...with the bedrooms and small home offices sitting on the upper levels

(Image credit: Fernando Guerra)

The roof liner

The ground floor facade of local timber folds into the interior, becoming the roof liner

(Image credit: Fernando Guerra)

Interiors and decoration

Working on the interiors and decoration, the studio’s Diana Radomysler worked closely with the team to create a streamlined whole 

(Image credit: Fernando Guerra)


For more information on Marcio Kogan and Studio mk27 visit the website

Photography: Fernando Guerra

Daven Wu is the Singapore Editor at Wallpaper*. A former corporate lawyer, he has been covering Singapore and the neighbouring South-East Asian region since 1999, writing extensively about architecture, design, and travel for both the magazine and website. He is also the City Editor for the Phaidon Wallpaper* City Guide to Singapore.