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Slice House, Brasil : Architecture
Porto Alegre Building, South America – design by procter-rihl architects
24 Sep 2007
Slice House Porto Alegre
SLICE HOUSE by procter-rihl, architects
The house makes a series of references to Brazilian modern architecture as well as adding a new element with its complex prismatic geometry. This complex geometry generates a series of spatial illusions in the interior spaces which illustrates procter-rihl design language.
The house deals with an universal subject of urban residues in cities. The changing nature of the urban context generates through time a number of odd residual sites. Residual sites can be extremely interesting because they impose difficult questions to solve in terms of planning and programme. This project is placed on a site 3.7m wide x 38.5m long.
SWIMMING AS AN EVENT – the Voyeur Experience
The swimming pool, located on the upper floor, is the main event generator in the space. It polarises the attention in the house where the users are all voyeurs in the space, making homage to the body, a national obsession. The pool is structurally supported by the sidewalls and thus is a floating block above the living space. During the day it works as a daylight filter creating different rippled water effects as the day progresses. At night with the pool lights on it works as a large coloured light fitting.
SPATIAL STRATEGY, COMPLEX GEOMETRIES and illusion
The project was conceived as a SLICE built on an urban residue leftover after the opening of a new road on the west side of the site. Space is defined by a series of non-orthogonal design decisions. The space folds and unfolds within the prismatic form. It develops a series of spatial distortions, which create an illusion of greater space on this narrow plot. A series of tilted 70deg walls extend the spaces where the eye of the beholder is displaced to further planes achieving an illusion of a larger space. The tilted ceilings create forced perspective also distorting the spatial perception. People are accustomed to perceive and understand orthogonal spaces. In a more complex geometry, the eye tries to understand the space and is constantly defied by it. The space becomes richer as the user perceives conflicting information from different viewpoints.
Instead of neutralising the linear site, Procter-Rihl decided to work with it. Entering at the small end, most of the site is a continuous open space for the social areas and inner courtyard. This long space contains the 7m continuous furniture component used as dining table, kitchen counter, and garden table. One long space gives unexpected depth to a domestic environment. In such a space, visual perception tends to tunnel in making the space appear to be smaller, but as the site is non-orthogonal increasing in width from 3.7 to 4.8m perspective is neutralised. This condition creates the illusion as if the space is bigger than it actually is. The three cross walls; front entrance, glass courtyard and bedroom are all angled 20deg off of the expected perpendicular. This elongates them and fools the eye into thinking the site is wider. The height of the main space, the upward flowing stair, and the open courtyard beyond open the space further.
Slice House Porto Alegre images / information from procter-rihl architects
Location: Porto Alegre, Brazil
American Architecture Walking Tours : city walks by e-architect
Brazil Architecture Design – chronological list
Slice House : more info + images
Slice House photos from procter-rihl by disk 240907
Brazilian architect : Oscar Niemeyer
procter-rihl: TEL +44 (0)20 7704 6003 E studio(at)procter-rihl.com
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