Towering presence: House in Joanopolis by UNA

Located in Joanopolis, a small municipality a few hours north of São Paulo, this vacation house was recently designed by UNA Architects for a pair of friends.

The site's stunning position at the base of the tall Mantiqueira Mountain bordering São Paulo and Minas Gerais was a prime inspiration for the structure's final shape. Orientated towards the nearby Piracaia Lake, the house is a simple rectangular box blending half-buried in the surrounding environment.

The architects' aim was to integrate the building within the landscape as much as possible. In order to achieve that, a big part of it is built as a composition of heavy stone walls, created with locally-sourced stone and using indigenous techniques. These walls frame the structure and also define a series of three inner interconnected courtyards that support the interior's natural ventilation system.

The white tower, another distinctive feature, shoots vertically from the otherwise low structure of the design, carrying the house's entire infrastructure, from water tanks to heaters and chimneys. As the house is only half visible from street level, the tower is also the main architectural feature visible from such a vantage point.

The building is strongly linked to the surrounding nature in many respects. It is designed on a single level, however, an exterior path can also lead to the street or the structure's flat green roof.

Sliding glass doors towards the garden unite interior and exterior, opening the house up to the scenery in a traditionally Brazilian fashion. This is the case for most of the house's large openings, although extra wooden sliding panels were placed in the bedroom windows in order for them to tightly shut at night.

Architecture by Humberto Hermeto

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: Humberto Hermeto
Project: Casa JE, Vale dos Cristais
Website: www.humbertohermeto.com.br (opens in new tab)

Humberto Hermeto has a small studio with just four assistants, all in their 20s. Set up in 1996, shortly after he graduated from the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, he built up his practice through competitions and small residential works and regularly collaborates with Austin, Texas-based architect Fernando Lara. His approach is modest and considered. 'I try to understand the place I'm working on, and what the design needs to enhance it,' he explains. Concrete is a favourite material, 'not only because of our modern tradition but because of its cost compared to steel structure.' Ongoing works include a house in Recife and a museum in Belo Horizonte. The firm is also currently involved in building a Convention Centre and hotel for the 2014 World Cup. Hermeto believes that the character of contemporary Brazilian architecture is still driven by the climate. 'The special attention to questions like sun protection has always been an important quality,' he says, 'you can see that easily in the early works of Niemeyer.' As well as Niemeyer, he counts Zumthor, Mendes da Rocha and Paraguayan architect Solano Benitez and the key Brazilian modernist structures in Belo Horizonte as influences.

Architecture by Humberto Hermeto

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: Humberto Hermeto
Project: Casa JE, Vale dos Cristais
Website: www.humbertohermeto.com.br (opens in new tab)

Architecture by Humberto Hermeto


(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: Humberto Hermeto
Project: Casa JE, Vale dos Cristais
Website: www.humbertohermeto.com.br (opens in new tab)

Architecture by Humberto Hermeto

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: Humberto Hermeto
Project: Casa JE, Vale dos Cristais
Website: www.humbertohermeto.com.br (opens in new tab)

Architecture by Humberto Hermeto

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: Humberto Hermeto
Project: Casa JE, Vale dos Cristais
Website: www.humbertohermeto.com.br (opens in new tab)

Architecture by Humberto Hermeto

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: Humberto Hermeto
Project: Casa JE, Vale dos Cristais
Website: www.humbertohermeto.com.br (opens in new tab)

Architecture by Humberto Hermeto

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: Humberto Hermeto
Project: Casa JE, Vale dos Cristais
Website: www.humbertohermeto.com.br (opens in new tab)

Architecture by Humberto Hermeto

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: Humberto Hermeto
Project: Casa JE, Vale dos Cristais
Website: www.humbertohermeto.com.br (opens in new tab)

Architecture by Humberto Hermeto

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: Humberto Hermeto
Project: Casa JE, Vale dos Cristais
Website: www.humbertohermeto.com.br (opens in new tab)

Architecture by Humberto Hermeto

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: Humberto Hermeto
Project: Casa JE, Vale dos Cristais
Website: www.humbertohermeto.com.br (opens in new tab)

Architecture by Humberto Hermeto

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: Humberto Hermeto
Project: Casa JE, Vale dos Cristais
Website: www.humbertohermeto.com.br (opens in new tab)

Architecture by Humberto Hermeto

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: Humberto Hermeto
Project: Casa JE, Vale dos Cristais
Website: www.humbertohermeto.com.br (opens in new tab)

Architecture by Humberto Hermeto

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: Humberto Hermeto
Project: Casa JE, Vale dos Cristais
Website: www.humbertohermeto.com.br (opens in new tab)

Architecture by Humberto Hermeto

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: Humberto Hermeto
Project: Casa JE, Vale dos Cristais
Website: www.humbertohermeto.com.br (opens in new tab)

Architecture by Humberto Hermeto

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: Humberto Hermeto
Project: Casa JE, Vale dos Cristais
Website: www.humbertohermeto.com.br (opens in new tab)

Architecture by Humberto Hermeto

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: Humberto Hermeto
Project: Casa JE, Vale dos Cristais
Website: www.humbertohermeto.com.br (opens in new tab)

Architecture by Humberto Hermeto

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: Humberto Hermeto
Project: Casa JE, Vale dos Cristais
Website: www.humbertohermeto.com.br (opens in new tab)

Architecture by Humberto Hermeto

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: Humberto Hermeto
Project: Casa JE, Vale dos Cristais
Website: www.humbertohermeto.com.br (opens in new tab)

Cube House by AR.q

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: AR.q
Project: Cube House, São Paulo
Telephone: +55 11 3663 4465

'For us, Brazilian architecture can be summarised by three themes: freedom, generosity, and collective life,' say Marina Acayaba and Juan Pablo Rosenberg. Their young practice, AR arquitectos, was formed in 2008. A recent graduate from São Paulo University and daughter of well-known architect Marcos Acayaba, Marina had already worked with SANAA and Aires Mateus before setting up with Rosenberg, the curator for the Brazilian Pavilion for the 10th Venice Architecture Biennale. Both involved with teaching as well as designing, the pair have been busy with a series of residential commissions. Their latest project, the Cube House in São Paulo, was only finished a few months ago, and a further five house designs are currently in the pipeline. Their philosophy focuses on the concept of occupying space through movement: 'In Portuguese, "AR” means, “AIR”. The air has no shape or volume; it just occupies the space. It is fluid, expansible, in permanent movement,' they explain.

Cube House by AR.q

(Image credit: TBC)

External terraces of the house in Pompeia
Architect: AR.q
Project: Cube House, São Paulo
Telephone: +55 11 3663 4465

Cube House by AR.q

(Image credit: TBC)

Living area at the house in Pompeia
Architect: AR.q
Project: Cube House, São Paulo
Telephone: +55 11 3663 4465

Cube House by AR.q

(Image credit: TBC)

Living area at the house in Pompeia
Architect: AR.q
Project: Cube House, São Paulo
Telephone: +55 11 3663 4465

Cube House by AR.q

(Image credit: TBC)

Living area at the house in Pompeia
Architect: AR.q
Project: Cube House, São Paulo
Telephone: +55 11 3663 4465

Cube House by AR.q

(Image credit: TBC)

Courtyard detail at the house in Pompeia
Architect: AR.q
Project: Cube House, São Paulo
Telephone: +55 11 3663 4465

Cube House by AR.q

(Image credit: TBC)

Staircase leading to the lower ground floor
Architect: AR.q
Project: Cube House, São Paulo
Telephone: +55 11 3663 4465

Cube House by AR.q

(Image credit: TBC)

Living area looking towards the courtyard
Architect: AR.q
Project: Cube House, São Paulo
Telephone: +55 11 3663 4465

Cube House by AR.q

(Image credit: TBC)

Living area at the house in Pompeia
Architect: AR.q
Project: Cube House, São Paulo
Telephone: +55 11 3663 4465

Cube House by AR.q

(Image credit: TBC)

Living area looking towards the smaller courtyard
Architect: AR.q
Project: Cube House, São Paulo
Telephone: +55 11 3663 4465

Cube House by AR.q

(Image credit: TBC)

Internal staircase at the house in Pompeia
Architect: AR.q
Project: Cube House, São Paulo
Telephone: +55 11 3663 4465

Cube House by AR.q

(Image credit: TBC)

Workspace at the house in Pompeia
Architect: AR.q
Project: Cube House, São Paulo
Telephone: +55 11 3663 4465

Internal staircase leading to the upper levels

(Image credit: TBC)

Internal staircase leading to the upper levels
Architect: AR.q
Project: Cube House, São Paulo
Telephone: +55 11 3663 4465

Bedroom areas at the houe in Pompeia

(Image credit: TBC)

Bedroom areas at the houe in Pompeia
Architect: AR.q
Project: Cube House, São Paulo
Telephone: +55 11 3663 4465

Bedroom areas at the houe in Pompeia

(Image credit: TBC)

Bedroom areas at the houe in Pompeia
Architect: AR.q
Project: Cube House, São Paulo
Telephone: +55 11 3663 4465

Ubatuba by SPBR

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: SPBR
Project: Ubatuba
Website: www.spbr.arq.br (opens in new tab)

Angelo Bucci set up SPBR in 2003, bringing together João Paulo Meirelles de Faria, Juliana Braga and Ciro Miguel as associates. Bucci spent six years as a founder and partner at MMBB, before which he worked at Arquitetura Paulista with Alvaro Puntoni and Alvaro Razuk. The new studio reflects the need for a flexible life, balancing academia and practice. All four key architects studied at the Faculty of Architecture at the University of São Paolo. 'I'm trying to design meaningful projects at a time that faces a lack of meaning,' explains Bucci. The interplay between inside and outside is a critical part of the SPBR approach, epitomised by new houses in Ubatuba, Carapicuiba and Santa Teresa. A large Mediatheque building in Rio is being designed, as are housing projects in Lugano and the Algarve. Major names that continue to influence the studio include Niemeyer, Afonso Eduardo Reidy, Mendes da Rocha, key Paulista player João Batista Vilanova Artigas, Carlos Millan, Marcos Acayaba, Eduardo de Almeida and Marcello Fragelli.

Ubatuba by SPBR

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: SPBR
Project: Ubatuba
Website: www.spbr.arq.br (opens in new tab)

Ubatuba by SPBR

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: SPBR
Project: Ubatuba
Website: www.spbr.arq.br (opens in new tab)

Ubatuba by SPBR

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: SPBR
Project: Ubatuba
Website: www.spbr.arq.br (opens in new tab)

Ubatuba by SPBR

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: SPBR
Project: Ubatuba
Website: www.spbr.arq.br (opens in new tab)

Ubatuba by SPBR

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: SPBR
Project: Ubatuba
Website: www.spbr.arq.br (opens in new tab)

Ubatuba by SPBR

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: SPBR
Project: Ubatuba
Website: www.spbr.arq.br (opens in new tab)

Ubatuba by SPBR

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: SPBR
Project: Ubatuba
Website: www.spbr.arq.br (opens in new tab)

Ubatuba by SPBR

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: SPBR
Project: Ubatuba
Website: www.spbr.arq.br (opens in new tab)

Ubatuba by SPBR

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: SPBR
Project: Ubatuba
Website: www.spbr.arq.br (opens in new tab)

Ubatuba by SPBR

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: SPBR
Project: Ubatuba
Website: www.spbr.arq.br (opens in new tab)

Ubatuba by SPBR

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: SPBR
Project: Ubatuba
Website: www.spbr.arq.br (opens in new tab)

Ubatuba by SPBR

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: SPBR
Project: Ubatuba
Website: www.spbr.arq.br (opens in new tab)

Ubatuba by SPBR

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: SPBR
Project: Ubatuba
Website: www.spbr.arq.br (opens in new tab)

Ubatuba by SPBR

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: SPBR
Project: Ubatuba
Website: www.spbr.arq.br (opens in new tab)

Ubatuba by SPBR

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: SPBR
Project: Ubatuba
Website: www.spbr.arq.br (opens in new tab)

Ubatuba by SPBR

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: SPBR
Project: Ubatuba
Website: www.spbr.arq.br (opens in new tab)

Ubatuba by SPBR

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: SPBR
Project: Ubatuba
Website: www.spbr.arq.br (opens in new tab)

Ubatuba by SPBR

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: SPBR
Project: Ubatuba
Website: www.spbr.arq.br (opens in new tab)

Ubatuba by SPBR

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: SPBR
Project: Ubatuba
Website: www.spbr.arq.br (opens in new tab)

Ubatuba by SPBR

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: SPBR
Project: Ubatuba
Website: www.spbr.arq.br (opens in new tab)

Ubatuba by SPBR

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: SPBR
Project: Ubatuba
Website: www.spbr.arq.br (opens in new tab)

Ubatuba by SPBR

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: SPBR
Project: Ubatuba
Website: www.spbr.arq.br (opens in new tab)

Ubatuba by SPBR

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: SPBR
Project: Ubatuba
Website: www.spbr.arq.br (opens in new tab)

Ubatuba by SPBR

(Image credit: TBC)

Joanopolis House by UNA

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: UNA
Project: Joanopolis House, São Paulo
Website: www.unaarquitetos.com.br (opens in new tab)

Based in São Paulo’s upmarket rua General Jardim, UNA Arquitetos were formed in 1996 by four partners: Cristiane Muniz, Fábio Rago Valentim, Fernanda Barbara and Fernando Felippe Viégas, all fresh from São Paulo's architecture and urban planning school. Today UNA is a multi-award winning firm, taking prizes at the 2009 São Paulo Architecture Biennale as well as awards from the Institute of Brazilian Architects in 2006, 2005 and 1998. Working with a large variety of scales and programmes such as urban planning, public infrastructures, schools, institutions, commercial services and residential buildings, their major built projects include houses in and around São Paulo, a school in Curitiba, the Piqueri Rail Station, and, most recently, the new São Miguel Station. ‘Brazilian architecture is marked by a group of important architects as Oscar Niemeyer, Lúcio Costa, Vilanova Artigas, Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Lina Bo Bardi and João Figueiras Lima (Lelé) among others,’ say UNA. ‘Their architecture touched on technical, social and territorial issues. As contemporary architects, we work with this legacy which is becoming more relevant by the day.’

Joanopolis House by UNA

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: UNA
Project: Joanopolis House, São Paulo
Website: www.unaarquitetos.com.br (opens in new tab)

Joanopolis House by UNA

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: UNA
Project: Joanopolis House, São Paulo
Website: www.unaarquitetos.com.br (opens in new tab)

Joanopolis House by UNA

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: UNA
Project: Joanopolis House, São Paulo
Website: www.unaarquitetos.com.br (opens in new tab)

Joanopolis House by UNA

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: UNA
Project: Joanopolis House, São Paulo
Website: www.unaarquitetos.com.br (opens in new tab)

Joanopolis House by UNA

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: UNA
Project: Joanopolis House, São Paulo
Website: www.unaarquitetos.com.br (opens in new tab)

Joanopolis House by UNA

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: UNA
Project: Joanopolis House, São Paulo
Website: www.unaarquitetos.com.br (opens in new tab)

Joanopolis House by UNA

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: UNA
Project: Joanopolis House, São Paulo
Website: www.unaarquitetos.com.br (opens in new tab)

Joanopolis House by UNA

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: UNA
Project: Joanopolis House, São Paulo
Website: www.unaarquitetos.com.br (opens in new tab)

Joanopolis House by UNA

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: UNA
Project: Joanopolis House, São Paulo
Website: www.unaarquitetos.com.br (opens in new tab)

Joanopolis House by UNA

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: UNA
Project: Joanopolis House, São Paulo
Website: www.unaarquitetos.com.br (opens in new tab)

Joanopolis House by UNA

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: UNA
Project: Joanopolis House, São Paulo
Website: www.unaarquitetos.com.br (opens in new tab)

House B by Andrade Morettin

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: Andrade Morettin
Project: House B, São Paolo
Website: www.andrademorettin.com.br (opens in new tab)

The São Paolo studio of Andrade Morettin was set up by Marcelo Morettin and Vinícius Andrade in 1997, following their studies at São Paolo's Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism. Andrade worked for Eduardo de Almeida Arquitetos Associados and VIA Arquitetura, while Morettin worked in the atelier of Joaquim Guedes before they set up their own firm. The studio currently has three other partners, as well as project architects and interns. 'We both graduated at FAUUSP and shared a strong concern with highlighting the building process as well as the social dimension of architecture,' says Andrade. AM's buildings touch the ground lightly, as their synthesis of economic construction materials and an ethos of minimum effort pays dividends in terms of low environmental impact and livability. Currently working on houses, apartments and offices in and around São Paulo, their best-built projects eschew the concrete-heavy construction of their peers in favour of a more lightweight approach. 'I think Brazilian architecture is undergoing a moment of renaissance,' says Andrada. 'We're trying to conciliate our modern heritage with a contemporary consciousness that's slightly more free from modernist dogma.' He cites the work of Mies van der Rohe, Mendes da Rocha, Murcutt, Yamamoto, Koolhaas and Vilanova Artigas as being especially inspirational.

House B by Andrade Morettin

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: Andrade Morettin
Project: House B, São Paolo
Website: www.andrademorettin.com.br (opens in new tab)

House B by Andrade Morettin

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: Andrade Morettin
Project: House B, São Paolo
Website: www.andrademorettin.com.br (opens in new tab)

House B by Andrade Morettin

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: Andrade Morettin
Project: House B, São Paolo
Website: www.andrademorettin.com.br (opens in new tab)

House B by Andrade Morettin


(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: Andrade Morettin
Project: House B, São Paolo
Website: www.andrademorettin.com.br (opens in new tab)

House B by Andrade Morettin

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: Andrade Morettin
Project: House B, São Paolo
Website: www.andrademorettin.com.br (opens in new tab)

House B by Andrade Morettin

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: Andrade Morettin
Project: House B, São Paolo
Website: www.andrademorettin.com.br (opens in new tab)

House B by Andrade Morettin

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: Andrade Morettin
Project: House B, São Paolo
Website: www.andrademorettin.com.br (opens in new tab)

House B by Andrade Morettin

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: Andrade Morettin
Project: House B, São Paolo
Website: www.andrademorettin.com.br (opens in new tab)

House B by Andrade Morettin

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: Andrade Morettin
Project: House B, São Paolo
Website: www.andrademorettin.com.br (opens in new tab)

House B by Andrade Morettin

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: Andrade Morettin
Project: House B, São Paolo
Website: www.andrademorettin.com.br (opens in new tab)

House B by Andrade Morettin

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: Andrade Morettin
Project: House B, São Paolo
Website: www.andrademorettin.com.br (opens in new tab)

Aimbere residentail complex by Andrade Morettin

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: Andrade Morettin
Project: Aimbere residentail complex, São Paolo
Website: www.andrademorettin.com.br (opens in new tab)

Aimbere residentail complex by Andrade Morettin

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: Andrade Morettin
Project: Aimbere residential complex, São Paolo
Website: www.andrademorettin.com.br (opens in new tab)

Aimbere residentail complex by Andrade Morettin

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: Andrade Morettin
Project: Aimbere residential complex, São Paolo
Website: www.andrademorettin.com.br (opens in new tab)

Aimbere residentail complex by Andrade Morettin

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: Andrade Morettin
Project: Aimbere residential complex, São Paolo
Website: www.andrademorettin.com.br (opens in new tab)

Aimbere residentail complex by Andrade Morettin

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: Andrade Morettin
Project: Aimbere residential complex, São Paolo
Website: www.andrademorettin.com.br (opens in new tab)

Aimbere residentail complex by Andrade Morettin

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: Andrade Morettin
Project: Aimbere residential complex, São Paolo
Website: www.andrademorettin.com.br (opens in new tab)

House M by Atelier UM

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: Atelier UM
Project: House M, São Paolo
Website: www.atelier-um.com (opens in new tab)

Gustavo Utrabo and Juliano Monteiro founded Atelier UM in 2008. Both share an interest in the densely digital world of parametric architecture, and following studies in Curitiba, Barcelona and Madrid, they set up their own studio together. Their interest in programme and parameters gives them a dynamic edge, and their work is shot through with conceptual ideas, starting from the basis that functionalism and flexibility should underpin every project. The output from their first full year of practice include the fortress-like House M, a monumental residence that presents a stone face to the road while wrapping a glassy rear façade around a courtyard and pool. Their conceptual project for the UP to 35 competition proposed a scattering of green-roofed geometric forms, designed to snare and intrigue the passer-by. Other works include benches, graphic design and a shower created as a stalactite-like growth. More cultural and residential works are on the boards, together with an installation entitled ‘Art, Space and Parametricism’ that sets out their approach. ‘Inevitably, Brazilian modernism influenced our academic studies,' the architects say, 'but today our research seeks different elements. Nevertheless, we admire the works and thoughts of João Vilanova Artigas, Paulo Mendes da Rocha and Affonso Reidy – they all established new connections and possibilities.'

House M by Atelier UM

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: Atelier UM
Project: House M, São Paolo
Website: www.atelier-um.com (opens in new tab)

House M by Atelier UM

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: Atelier UM
Project: House M, São Paolo
Website: www.atelier-um.com (opens in new tab)

Main entrance for Panamerican Games 2007

(Image credit: TBC)

Main entrance for Panamerican Games 2007
Architect: BCMF
Project: Deodoro Sports Complex, Rio
Website: www.bcmfarquitetos.com (opens in new tab)

Bruno Campos, Marcelo Fontes and Silvio Todeschi form Belo Horizonte-based BCMF Arquitetos. In their buildings, the practice aims for diversity in scale and typology, and their portfolio spans interior design; retail and furniture; commercial and residential schemes; single-family houses and large sports facilities. BCMF designed the Deodoro Sports Complex for the Rio 2007 Pan American Games and it came as no surprise when, together with Vazio, they were selected to be the lead architects for some 20 venues and facilities for the Rio 2016 Olympic bid. 'Brazil is full of shocking dualities, absurd contrasts, surprising paradoxes and incomprehensible ambiguities,' say BCMF. 'We are very interested in merging the transition spaces: the gaps between inside and outside, private and public, and also in the unused or unplanned areas. Apart from the Olympic projects, the team is currently working on a large-scale urban scheme in Africa as well as residential and commercial work in Belo Horizonte.

Main entrance for Panamerican Games 2007

(Image credit: TBC)

Main entrance for Panamerican Games 2007
Architect: BCMF
Project: Deodoro Sports Complex, Rio
Website: www.bcmfarquitetos.com (opens in new tab)

Athletes’ entrance for Panamerican Games 2007

(Image credit: TBC)

Athletes’ entrance for Panamerican Games 2007
Architect: BCMF
Project: Deodoro Sports Complex, Rio
Website: www.bcmfarquitetos.com (opens in new tab)

Main hallway for Panamerican Games 2007

(Image credit: TBC)

Main hallway for Panamerican Games 2007
Architect: BCMF
Project: Deodoro Sports Complex, Rio
Website: www.bcmfarquitetos.com (opens in new tab)

Bar for Panamerican Games 2007

(Image credit: TBC)

Bar for Panamerican Games 2007
Architect: BCMF
Project: Deodoro Sports Complex, Rio
Website: www.bcmfarquitetos.com (opens in new tab)

Main arena for Panamerican Games 2007

(Image credit: TBC)

Main arena for Panamerican Games 2007
Architect: BCMF
Project: Deodoro Sports Complex, Rio
Website: www.bcmfarquitetos.com (opens in new tab)

Panamerican Games 2007 complex open air structure

(Image credit: TBC)

Panamerican Games 2007 complex open air structure
Architect: BCMF
Project: Deodoro Sports Complex, Rio
Website: www.bcmfarquitetos.com (opens in new tab)

Panamerican Games 2007 complex

(Image credit: TBC)

Panamerican Games 2007 complex
Architect: BCMF
Project: Deodoro Sports Complex, Rio
Website: www.bcmfarquitetos.com (opens in new tab)

Leaf House by Mareines + Patalano

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: Mareines + Patalano
Project: Leaf House, Agra dos Reis
Website: www.mareines-patalano.com.br (opens in new tab)

The Rio-based office of Mareines + Patalano was set up in late 2001, following the partners' meeting at a summer course at the Domus Academy. Both Rafael Patalano and Ivo Mareines had collaborated before, although Patalano had subsequently concentrated on commercial work and Mareines had taken time out to run a ceramics studio. Describing their designs as 'organic and open', the studio has so far built a beach house, a school and an office for a realtor, with more residential work to come. The pair use elaborately organic motifs, like the giant leaf-form roof of the Leaf House in Angra dos Reis, which reaches out to envelop both internal and external spaces to create shaded outdoor living. The offices for GLEM in Rio eke out dramatic curved spaces from an unpromising half-buried site, while the faceted, cellular forms of the main façade, boldly coloured interiors and flowing space define the MOPI Elementary School. They cite Roberto Burle Marx and Sergio Bernardes as influences but are also critical of the country's tendency to rest on its architectural laurels. 'In the past we could see a lot of freedom and innovation in Brazilian modernism, nowadays there is too much repetition based upon what used to be good.'

GLEM by Mareines + Patalano

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: Mareines + Patalano
Project: GLEM, Rio
Website: www.mareines-patalano.com.br (opens in new tab)

MOPI elementary school by Mareines + Patalano

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect: Mareines + Patalano
Project: MOPI elementary school, Rio
Website: www.mareines-patalano.com.br (opens in new tab)

Casa Bertolini by Studio Paralelo

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect:Studio Paralelo
Project: Casa Bertolini, Rio Grande do Sul
Websites: www.studioparalelo.com (opens in new tab), www.maam.com.uy (opens in new tab)

With a base in the southern city of Porto Alegre and an office in São Paolo, Studio Paralelo's partners: Luciano Andrades, Rochelle Castro and Silvio Machado divide their time between Brazil and their associate office, MAAM, in Uruguay's Montevideo, with which they been collaborating for four years. The three partners set up a joint practice in 2002 and key projects so far include private houses as well as commercial and civic work, including the design of a national bank in their state, a Converse footwear showroom in São Paulo and an advertising agency's office in Porto Alegre. 'Today's challenge for Brazilian architects is to take some of the classic Brazilian modernist concepts and adapt them to this new era,' say the trio. 'There are also the current financial restrictions to think of - not only in Brazil but all over the world - and the green wave and sustainability issues also need to be taken into consideration.'

Casa Bertolini by Studio Paralelo

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect:Studio Paralelo
Project: Casa Bertolini, Rio Grande do Sul
Websites: www.studioparalelo.com (opens in new tab), www.maam.com.uy (opens in new tab)

Casa Bertolini by Studio Paralelo

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect:Studio Paralelo
Project: Casa Bertolini, Rio Grande do Sul
Websites: www.studioparalelo.com (opens in new tab), www.maam.com.uy (opens in new tab)

Casa Bertolini by Studio Paralelo

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect:Studio Paralelo
Project: Casa Bertolini, Rio Grande do Sul
Websites: www.studioparalelo.com (opens in new tab), www.maam.com.uy (opens in new tab)

Casa Bertolini by Studio Paralelo

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect:Studio Paralelo
Project: Casa Bertolini, Rio Grande do Sul
Websites: www.studioparalelo.com (opens in new tab), www.maam.com.uy (opens in new tab)

Casa Bertolini by Studio Paralelo

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect:Studio Paralelo
Project: Casa Bertolini, Rio Grande do Sul
Websites: www.studioparalelo.com (opens in new tab), www.maam.com.uy (opens in new tab)

Casa Bertolini by Studio Paralelo

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect:Studio Paralelo
Project: Casa Bertolini, Rio Grande do Sul
Websites: www.studioparalelo.com (opens in new tab), www.maam.com.uy (opens in new tab)

mixed use building by Vazio

(Image credit: TBC)

Architect:Vazio
Project: mixed use building, Montevideo
Website: www.vazio.com.br (opens in new tab)

With architecture degrees from both Belo Horizonte and the Architectural Association in London, Vazio director Carlos M. Teixeira set up his firm in 2001. Taking part in prestigious exhibitions all over the world, from the Venice Architecture Biennale to shows at the RIBA in London, the architect has since worked on a number of commercial, residential and cultural projects. Working with BCMF architects, Vazio have worked on the concept design of most of the buildings presented for the upcoming 2016 Rio de Janreiro Olympic Games. Optimistic about the future of country's contemporary architecture scene, Teixeira explains that 'up until some years ago, Brazilian contemporary architecture was heavily anchored in the legacy of its Modern architecture and its old masters. Recently, a younger generation has been working on a new and freer agenda. This is not to say that Brazilian architects should forget the country's past, but they should take more risks - just as the good modern masters did.'

model cross section photograph of proposed structure

(Image credit: TBC)

model cross section photograph of proposed structure
Architect:Vazio
Project: mixed use building, Montevide
Website: www.vazio.com.br (opens in new tab)

model external photograph of proposed structure

(Image credit: TBC)

model external photograph of proposed structure
Architect:Vazio
Project: mixed use building, Montevideo
Website: www.vazio.com.br (opens in new tab)

upper floor detail of proposed structure

(Image credit: TBC)

upper floor detail of proposed structure
Architect:Vazio
Project: mixed use building, Montevideo
Website: www.vazio.com.br (opens in new tab)

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture Editor at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018) and Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020).