Butantã House has the ability to educate those who live in it and visit it with a sensitivity.

_project: Butantã House
_architecture: Paulo Mendes da Rocha
_location: São Paulo, Brazil

One might question if modern houses are still compatible with our lifestyle today. And the short answer is yes, as the modern house design is still prevalent as it was years ago. Modern houses provide families with a place to live that looks like a work of art. Often the architects of South America took the modern movement to another level, perhaps in some ways they had more vision. The work of Paulo Mendes da Rocha is the perfect example of that.

The Butantã House, designed for himself in 1964, was planned with the family life in mind. It’s a project that provides comfort, warmth, and character, making it fun for families to live in. The children find in this project an endless playground; the interior walls never touch the ceilings, offering a continuity of spaces and allowing the sound to travel along the different rooms. For this reason, the house might feel very open, but it’s rather cosy.

Today, it is Lito Mendes da Rocha, the son, that proudly inhabits the house. For him, the project has the ability to educate those who live in it and visit it with a sensitivity to inhabiting and a sense of aesthetic. Despite the raw materials and the simple floor plan, all details were taking into account and designed by the architect. Most of the furniture is fixed, but Lito is sure that if we could move them around, we would come to the conclusion that there is no better placement.

In this project, the brutal use of concrete - a material usually heavy and unforgiving - feels rather natural, like it was carved from stone, mixed with natural woods, and surrounded by trees. Despite feeling like a perfect place to feel cool, hidden, and to move around unnoticed, it is open and fresh with a great connection to nature. This house provides openness with simple lines making it one with nature.


_written by Daniela Moreira Silva
_film by Architecture Hunter
_cover image: Leonardo Finotti
_music: Courage Endures - Travor Kowalskin
_drawings by Ruth Verde Zein:

  1. Floor Plan
  2. Side Plan
  3. Section

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