The House + House building in Amparo, north of São Paulo, is a pavilion-like private residence designed by the Brazilian architects Aleph Zero. The building's name is due to the unconventional concept behind its design, namely division of the building into a lower deck buried into the ground and resembling an artificial landscape, and an upper deck onto which two volumes are placed. Both decks are characterised by an open-plan layout and the deliberately orchestrated interaction of architecture and nature.
Architect: Aleph Zero
Location: 8647+H5 Amparo, Estado de São Paulo (BR)
The two-storey House + House building is located on a practically triangular and slightly sloping plot. The lower deck completely fills out the contours of the site and due to the lively topography is buried into the ground towards the east, thus providing the interior with privacy. This lower deck opens up to the west, where the main entrance and two parking spaces adjacent to the street are located. In formal terms the lower deck offers three rectangular volumes positioned to form a secluded and central patio facing to the north. The patio in turn is provided a pool, making it a tranquil oasis for the occupants of the building's two residences. The lower deck is topped by a wood and steel frame structure in a regular 5 x 5-metre grid and is partially provided openings to permit the passage of light to the lower deck. As the frame structure also has vegetation growing on its top, the result is that of a lively roof landscape in artificial continuation of the surrounding nature – the dominant theme of the House + House building.
It is into this upper deck scenery that Aleph Zero has integrated two volumes. Connected by footbridges they are particularly striking in terms of façade design, featuring wrap-around, floor-to-ceiling glazing fronted by a lightweight metal structure of vertical hinged elements. These grate-like shutters prevent unwanted views into the house and provide protection from the sun.
A large, 100-square-metre living space as well as work rooms, leisure areas and the swimming pool are located on the lower deck, while the upper deck, which comes with two guest bedrooms in the one volume and a further 90-square-metre residence in the other, is solely dedicated to living. The deliberately simple material palette concentrates on the maximum interaction of architecture and nature. Wood in a dark, warm colour has been used for various fitted units as well as wall-to-wall flooring, window frames and structural elements, thus forming the perfect complement to the cool look of the steel.