From Oscar Niemeyer’s visionary Brasilia to the brutalist buildings of downtown San Paulo, concrete is a key element of modern Brazilian architecture. Rio House by Olson Kundig is an intimate retreat adjacent to Tijuca National Park. The residence is suspended above the ground on 2 poured-in-place concrete piers, one of which doubles as a fireplace.
While Kundig’s Seattle-based firm tips its hat to Brazil’s architectural past, the 1,500-square-foot residence is forward-thinking. The rectangular steel-and glass-box structure hovers above the land, minimizing its impact on the surroundings — 3.1 acres of juçara palm and cariniana trees. At the same time, it features environmentally aware design elements such as a solar water heating system and retractable walls that act as natural ventilation. On the north side, Rio house contains a single bedroom, while the south side features a kitchen, dining area, and lounge. The ground floor has a screened-in porch, an outdoor kitchenette. The southern end provides stunning views of the Rio skyline, made unmistakable by Christ The Redeemer, and the coast that is the pulse of a vibrant city known for its beaches.