Atelier Peclat,
São Paulo, Brazil
2020 - 2022
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Villa, 160m2 — Built
Team: Fred Peclat, Gabriela Chow, Amanda Bernacci

Located in one of the few remaining and rare village houses in the Jardins neighborhood, Atelier Peclat is configured as an oasis amid São Paulo's urban jungle. At the heart of our space, a void of vertically elongated proportions serves as the stage for a garden designed by Gabriela Chow. Dense and full of native species, it appears as an untouched section of the Atlantic forest.

In an uninterrupted symbiotic movement, architecture and garden constantly reinforce and feed each other. This invisible and subtle dance that takes place has time as its melody, which acts on both in a distinct and particular way. In the architectural mass, the action of time serves to incorporate uncontrollable and complex layers of density and permanence that, when overlapping, amplify and reinforce the soul of the spaces. In the garden, the result is different; time marks its layers, which are cyclical due to the variation in their foliage and density. In designing, just as we did in the Atelier project, we always consider these intangible and invisible aspects.

The idea of how to work on the voids in the project arose primarily from our interest in how ancestral ruins, in their majority, have a tectonic power that approaches the divine. We wanted to attribute this quality to our space. To this end, in the Atelier project, we created a straight-line sequence of volumes, all with the same height and 40cm thick, originating from the entrance, passing through the garden, and ending at the annex. In the living room space, a shadow gap that runs throughout the perimeter draws a "line" between the beam and the solids to reinforce its volumetric character, while the voids purposely created by the spacing between them, attribute different functions, be it the access to the massive Gnaisse stone staircase that ascends to the upper floor, or the washbasin area that subtly extends beyond the external perimeter of the Atelier, and allows the rain to enter the hand washing area freely.

In the garden, the resemblance of "ruins," unlike the previous ones, comes in the shape of monoliths. Its voids, as well as those in the internal areas, also have different functions. While the largest of them allows access to the external staircase — built with the same stone that punctuates several elements of the project — the smallest provides a space for the 5th step to extend beyond its functional purpose of ascension and is configured as a fountain that pours water into a trough that appears amidst the vegetation. For the architecture aficionados, this gesture might be considered a solid reference to the modern master Luís Barragan.

All spaces revolve around the heart of the project, the garden. The same could not fail to happen on the upper floor; despite being on a higher level, its largest window looks into this void. On sunny days, one can notice the volumes of the external geometries acting similarly to a sundial, with sharp and precise shadows projected onto the surroundings. The relationship is reversed on days with more diffuse light; the magic occurs more intensely within the space with work tables. With its ceiling shaped like a collapsed arch, the light on those days is delicately diluted over its curvature, and the limits between ceiling and wall disappear. The space is embedded with a sense of infinity, similar to those perceived in monastic temples.

Furthermore, an attentive eye will notice the reduced and constrained palette of materials applied throughout the Atelier's project. The stainless steel, the Gnaisse stone, pebbles, the clay-based texture from Studio Passalacqua, and the burnt cement. All were precisely chosen to reinforce the character and soul of the project. As a premise, we sought to work on the mineral relationship of the selected materials in different scales and tones. The artworks of Brazilian artists, such as José Adário, David Almeida, Tatiana Chalhoub, Gabriel Roemer, and Lucas Rubly, in perfect tune with the furniture and lighting, designed chiefly by us, act as an additional layer to support the calm and serene essence of the atmosphere, where a lot is said with little.

Photos: Filippo Bamberghi
Text: Atelier Peclat
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Atelier Peclat