Bernardes + Jacobsen - CF Residence

Bernardes + Jacobsen

CF Residence

Steeling the show - Blessed with a great plot and open brief, a lightweight, transparent, horizontal building, was what the architects Thiago Bernardes and Paulo Jacobsen designed.

Overview & Plot
Located on a plot in the picturesque condominium Portogalo in Angra dos Reis, Rio de Janeiro, Paulo Jacobsen and Thiago Bernardes wanted to accommodate a large family retreat taking full advantage of the plot and its location. The challenge was how to minimise the buildings impact from roadside - difficult with such a large house.

Departing from traditional Brazilian wood or brick structures the house employs steel to span the vast openings that connect all rooms to the views below.

The svelte steel corner pillars provide minimal interruption to the open plan dining and living area of the ground floor. In summertime (almost constant in Angra dos Reis) the glass panels dividing this area up slide away to provide an enormous expanse of shade.

Half way up the fa├žade, and providing elevated viewing to the bedrooms are two outdoor balconies of Peroba wood, these break up the stark white of the lower level and the surrounding steel structure. The wood is also used throughout the second level interior, and as a lining the the vast roof span.

Continuing to the roof level, tropical storms and heavy rain, common in the early part of the year in Rio de Janeiro are caught by large glass overhangs, which still let light through to the bedrooms. The glass also blurs the connection between the roof’s reflecting pool, paved with green ceramic tiles, imitating the colour of the inlet and sea beyond. The same applies to the pool on the terrace, which seems to fall into the sea. This camouflage, and the fact that the house is set into the hillside at the rear, reduces its size, as to the thin steel structures, elongating its horizontal structure. It’s only from below, backstroking in the pool that the house’s true size is revealed.

With the entire ground floor dedicated to the pool, dining and entertaining, the upper level provides the entrance and 4 bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms. Originally two giant bedrooms, the sets of two our housed either side of the atrium over the pool. As you enter the residence through its large dark wood doors, the bedrooms act as blinkers, focusing the view out to the water beyond.

A small seating area between allows you to contemplate, and perhaps acts as a formal arrival area. From here, “grand” staircases head both inside (left) to the living room, and outside (right) to the pool area (Bernardes + Jacobsen are renowned for impressive staircases).

The Result
Now complete in a 4 bedroom layout, this family retreat seems to have all one needs for a relaxing weekend. The thin steel structure and stretched horizontal roofline give it the appearance of a lightweight marque or stretched canvas roof. A seaside camp that mirrors the water beyond. Yet, from within, there is no doubt that this house is: permanent; modern and luxurious; and will provide a great weekend spot for years to come.


Bernardes + Jacobsen

Client: Carlos Firme
Construction: February, 2001 – December, 2003
Materials: Steel structure, stone, wood, glass and Ceramic tiles
Built area: 1024m2
Plot: 2000m2

Information courtesy of: Bernardes + Jacobsen