An Axis Perpendicular: Architect Isay Weinfeld Designs Casa Piracicaba

Perhaps it’s not just Isay Weinfeld’s extraordinary craft for designing beautiful structures that renders him one of Brazil’s most celebrated architects. Weinfeld has an innate knack for creating architecture and spaces that inherently bring people together. Two hours outside the Brazilian metropolis of São Paulo is Weinfeld's recently completed Casa Piracicaba, a monolithic concrete home built for a growing family to enjoy holidays and vacations with one another.

The three story, L-shaped structure is strategically arranged on a 21,500 square foot piece of sloping land in a gated community near the town of Piracicaba. The three floors are arranged in perpendicular axes, making the home's exotic garden accessible from any floor. The lower ground is semi-subterranean and houses the storage areas, the mechanical room and garage.

The ground floor is laid out as an L-shape and accessible from the street through a curvacious S-shaped ramp. The ground floor is occupied by the service areas and the lounge/dining room. Here, the dining room is fully encased in glass, and overlooks the back portion of the land that merges with the pool deck through wide sliding doors. The other side of the dining room is shielded from the sun and secluded from the street because of a long sun baffle constructed of large vertical concrete slabs, unevenly placed along the whole facade.

On top of the house is a monolithic volume that stretches perpendicularly to the contour of the land and is cantilevered towards the street. This hulking piece of architecture is planted on the higher section of the land, and houses the sleeping quarters. The center of this rectangular structure opens onto a large wooden deck, built on the ceiling slab over the lounge/dining room of the second level.

The swimming pool is located in the nook of the “L”. Facing the pool, an open social area is integrated from the inside to the outside via a set of sliding doors and a wooden deck that leads to the water's edge. The angle between the social area and the service area frames the pool.

Inside, all of the furnishings have been chosen or designed specifically for this house. Weinfeld himself created some exclusive pieces for the house, such as a bed, desk and one of the many sofas. The architect complemented his own furniture designs with mid-century classics like the Esterinha chair designed by Charles Eames.

While the main structure is concrete, the building displays a variety of interior and exterior finishes ranging from stone cladding on walls to marble in the bathrooms. The Piracicaba House embodies a sophisticated balance of sculpture, drama, and comfort. Making this home, the perfect holiday retreat for a large family to be together

Photography by James Silverman