Inspiration

Casa Azul Is a Raised Concrete Home in a Brazilian Forest

Nestled within the Atlantic Forest on the coast of Serra do Guararu in São Paulo, Brazil, Casa Azul stands as an example of how to build in protected nature without doing it damage. Designed by Studio MK27, this beach house showcases design that respects and celebrates the lush environment it calls home.

At the start, a two-meter protective perimeter was drawn around the Casa Azul’s projected footprint to shield the local forest from any construction. The design had to cooperate with strict parameters set by environmental agencies, ensuring the preservation of the landscape’s integrity. The result? An ingenious architectural solution that’s as much a part of the environment as the trees and coastal breeze.

The house is raised on pilotis giving it the appearance of hovering over the landscape. A massive wooden deck, which seems to be an extension of the surrounding forest, spans beneath the elevated structure. Its organic shape pays homage to the works of landscape architect Roberto Burle-Marx, playing a visual contrast to the sharp lines of the home above. A pool is strategically positioned to partially bask in the sunlight while still maintaining a harmonious relationship with the surrounding landscaping designed by Rodrigo Oliveira.

boxy modern house elevated above pool surrounded by trees

elevated rectangular modern house elevated in forest

Two staggered volumes seem to float amid the tree canopy, helping to provide shade and surrounding views. The lower concrete box frames views of nature thanks to both sides of sliding glass walls. With the walls open, the barrier between indoors and out is dissolved creating a large veranda. The upper floor aims to be a sanctuary amidst the treetops, housing rooms wrapped in wooden grid panels (muxarabis) that filter the light.

elevated rectangular modern house elevated in forest

angled view of elevated rectangular modern house elevated in forest

covered open deck with partially covered pool and dining area

On the ground level, a rustic stone wall acts both a functional separator and a complement to the supporting pillars.

view looking out from covered deck looking out to pool and forest

view looking out from covered deck looking out to pool and forest

angled exterior view of raised modern house with covered deck and pool

covered wooden deck with floating stairs rising by stone wall

covered wooden deck with floating stairs rising by stone wall

interior view of modering living room with large expanse open to outside

Casa Azul leans towards minimalism in materials and decor, keeping the focus on its surroundings. Textured concrete and warm woods blend together without creating an overwhelming presence in its environment.

partial interior view of modern living room and dining room with sliding glass walls open

With the glass walls open, the communal living space feels like a treehouse.

interior view of modern dining room with wooden table and chairs and partial wooden wall behind

partial view of modern dining room with outer hallway leading to rest of house

long living room view with side of room opened via sliding glass doors

living room view with side of room opened via sliding glass doors

angled view of modern bathroom with hanging pendant

view through perimeter hallway by walls of windows

angled view of modern minimalist kitchen with concrete wall and lower wood cabinets

partial view of modern bedroom with pink bedding

partial view of bedroom looking out through grated exterior panels

partial view of modern bedroom with teal bedding

angled view of modern bathroom with blue wall

sky view looking down at modern house surrounding by trees with ocean in distance

Photography by André Scarpa.

Caroline Williamson is Editor-in-Chief of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found searching for vintage wares, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen, or reworking playlists on Spotify.

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