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Casa de Vidro

Sao Paulo, Brazil
1 of 24Selmie

Lina designed the “Glass House” for her and her husband in what was then the remnants of the Mata Atlantica, the original rain forest surrounding São Paulo.

The area is now the wealthy suburb of Morumbi but a more domesticated version of the rain forest has since re-established itself around the house, concealing it from view.

Structure

The main part of the house is horizontal between thin reinforced concrete slabs with slender circular columns. The columns are pilotis, which allows the landscape to flow under the building. Inside, the main living area is almost completely open, except for a courtyard that allows the trees in the garden below to grow up into the heart of the house. In the house, there are zones allocated to different functions- a dining room, a library, and a sitting area around the freestanding fireplace- but all are unified by the forest views through the glass.

In theory, the glass panels slide open horizontally, but there is no balcony to encourage people to go outside. The living area is only half of the house. The other half sits on solid ground at the top of the hill, on the north side of the living room. A row of bedrooms face a narrow courtyard, on the other side of which is the blank wall of the staff wing. Only the kitchen crosses the divide- a territory shared by servants and mistress, and equipped with a variety of well-designed labor-saving devices.