Casa da Praia do Félix, a small beach house in Brazil | Vidal & Sant’Anna

Casa da Praia do Félix, a small tropical beach house in Brazil. | www.facebook.com/SmallHouseBliss

Casa da Praia do Félix rises out of the jungle canopy like a treehouse. It rests lightly on a steep hill overlooking a beach near the city of Ubatuba on Brazil’s southeast coast. Architects Vidal & Sant’Anna designed the house to have minimal physical impact on the sensitive site, and minimal visual impact on the neighbors. The house consists of a main building with three bedrooms, plus a separate studio that can be used as an exercise room, art studio or guest room.

The main house has a reverse floor plan, with the three bedrooms on the lower level and the living areas above to take advantage of the ocean views. Both the upper and lower levels are rectangular in shape, but the upper floor is rotated by 90 degrees, so that it overhangs the lower level by 2.5 m on each end.

Casa da Praia do Félix, a small tropical beach house in Brazil. | www.facebook.com/SmallHouseBliss

The distinctive curved roof is formed by custom-made arched trusses that span the living area, raising the ceiling to 5 m at the center. The remaining roof area of the lower level is used as a large roof terrace, as is the roof of the studio building.

The architects carefully placed the house so that no trees would have to be removed. To minimize the site impact, they raised the house above the ground, supporting it by twelve posts resting on small concrete pads. The minimal foundation allowed the tree roots to be left intact, stabilizing the steep slope and preventing landslides.

Casa da Praia do Félix, a small tropical beach house in Brazil. | www.facebook.com/SmallHouseBliss

The house has a post and beam structure that is made rigid by angled steel tension rods. As a result the walls themselves do not need to serve any structural role, allowing the extensive use of floor-to-ceiling glazing. The upper floor living area has glass walls all around except at the powder room, and the studio has glass on all four sides. The dense vegetation provides a privacy screen so the house cannot be seen from the road above.

Casa da Praia do Félix, a small tropical beach house in Brazil. | www.facebook.com/SmallHouseBliss

Located right on the Tropic of Capricorn, the Utatuba area has warm temperatures year round. This allowed the architects to put the main circulation corridors outside the house, with decks and outside stairs providing access between the two buildings and a bridge connecting them to the hillside. Glass canopies and a wide roof overhang shelter the decks from the area’s frequent rains.

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Photographs by Fran Parente, courtesy of Vidal & Sant’Anna. Via ArchDaily.

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