Project: Minas House, Nova Lima
Architects: Studio mk27
Authors: Marcio Kogan, Diana Radomysler, Mariana Ruzante, Regiane Leao
Team: Flavia Maritan, Oswaldo Pessano, Renato Perigo
Landscape Design: Pedro Nehring
Structural Engineer: Benedictis Engenharia
Construction Firm: Construtora Você
Location: Nova Lima, Brazil
Area: 1100 m2
Photographs: Joana Franca
Minas House is Studio mk27’s first project in Minas Gerais, inland Brazil. Right outside Belo Horizonte, which means beautiful horizon, the house hovers above the Minas Gerais mountains. Set on an especially steep site, two concrete slabs draw strong horizontal lines. To lift it up to 10 meters above ground, a sequence of stilts emerges, disguised amidst the tree trunks of the garden that reconstitutes the original rainforest. Drawing a clear contrast with the neighboring pharaonic embankment walls, occupying such a dramatic site, suspending the house on stilts allows for rainwater to drain and for the house to breathe.
From the street, the house seems to be no more than a simple wooden box. The volumetric complexity that constitutes 3 boxes and two platforms can only be glimpsed from the other side of the valley. It is accessible via a bridge: a connecting structure that punctuates the gap between public and private spaces without using any obstruction elements.
As one enters through the wooden façade, a squared glass frames the mountain view and creates an expectation of what’s to come. The staircase invites one to unfold onto the platform below. Downstairs, the entrance sequence leads to a portico, after which one reaches the generous open living space—light floods in from the glazed façade that can be completely retracted. The captivating vistas are revealed to one side, while the other is protected by a long shelf: support for storytelling and the family’s memories.
At the edge of the room, pivoting wooden panels open towards the west terrace, where the pool benefits from abundant exposure to the sun. The platform serves as an observation deck. In this residential space, all functions are covered to make day-to-day living possible, but contemplation and pondering over the passage of time is at the very center of their essence.
This platform also houses an opaque wooden box that envelopes the kitchen, powder room, and master bedroom in its corner. Two sides of the bedroom are covered in slatted wood panels that can fold and slide, revealing a new perspective of the East facing horizon.
Descending one more level, one reaches a third wooden box, suspended and cantilevered from the platform. Immersed within tree canopies, this is the most intimate area which accommodates the bedrooms, tv room, and winery.
The palette of materials enhances the house’s balanced proportions. The concrete slabs expose their bare texture on the ceilings, and the floors are clad in basalt. In turn, the three wooden programmatic boxes insert warmth into the ambiance and present a variety of rich tactile textures.
To its fullest extent, it is a very calm house: its presence on the street, its fluctuation over the slope, the succinct composition of materials, the different relationships with the view, and even its decoration. Some exquisite mid-century Brazilian pieces are used very sparsely, with presence and voids between each piece, letting each designer’s trace be fully felt and appreciated. It is a house to be flavored with full attention.