Denis Joelsons Combines a Linear Residence with Circular Garden Terraces in São Paulo.

Denis Joelsons Combines a Linear Residence with Circular Garden Terraces in São Paulo.

Brazilian architect Denis Joelsons has successfully finalized the construction of a rectangular residence in São Paulo, Brazil, nestled within the contours of a gently sloping terrain adorned with circular garden terraces.


Dubbed as Casa dos Terraços Circulares, or the House of Circular Terraces, this 2,725-square-foot (253 square meters) dwelling seamlessly blends into a wooded plot on the outskirts of the city. The house is thoughtfully oriented towards its lush garden, featuring meandering stone walls that gracefully weave and interlock, effectively grounding the structure within the landscape. Delicate stone steps connect the level grassy zones, ingeniously addressing the site's inclination.

The inspiration for the garden design draws from ancient elements found in diverse cultures, such as the agricultural terraces of the Incas, the elevated platforms of the Teotihuacans, and the revered Chinese terraced landscapes. Denis Joelsons, in a conversation with Dezeen, highlighted the presence of six distinct circular platforms of varying sizes that compose the yard, a clear homage to these influences.


These circular terraces were ingeniously fashioned using the excavated soil from the foundation construction, thereby minimizing the demand for concrete and seamlessly integrating the retaining walls, which in turn aid in the preservation of the existing trees.

The house's design is a harmonious juxtaposition of the earthy curves of the garden and the linear lines of the prefabricated wooden framework that forms the dwelling's structure. Comprising square modules that pay homage to traditional Japanese design motifs and rhythms, the facade is a composition of both solid and glazed sections. The southern orientation of the more extensively glazed side bathes the interior in captivating natural light, while clerestory windows grace the north-facing aspect at ground level.


The layout of the residence revolves around the garden plateaus, with communal spaces effortlessly flowing onto a petite, tiled terrace that seamlessly connects to a tiered entrance adjacent to the driveway.


At one extremity of the dwelling, an integrated garage nestles within the terrain, crowned by a suspended balcony. Remarkably, the same retaining walls that define the garden are seamlessly incorporated into the supportive structures of the covered garage. At the opposite end lie three private suites, each featuring dual entrances to facilitate circulation and cross-ventilation. This arrangement creates a sunken living area at the heart of the floor plan, echoing the undulating contours of a valley.


Denis Joelsons explained that while the roof presents itself as a continuous and level line on the horizon, the ground-level surfaces are molded into various layers, resulting in a dynamic series of spaces with varying ceiling heights. The interior and exterior palettes of materials were meticulously chosen for their inherent natural attributes and durability. The color and weight of these materials are attuned to their spatial placement – for instance, black ceramic tiles grace the floors, while the ceiling showcases lightly colored exposed beams. This thoughtful progression of materials is likened to the branching pattern of a tree trunk in nature, growing progressively brighter as they ascend towards the sky.

The structural framework boasts prefabricated wooden frames, and the window frames are artfully crafted from reclaimed peroba-rosa wood. The lightweight roof incorporates OSB panels, thermal insulation, and an EVA membrane for impeccable waterproofing. A sophisticated gutter system, featuring an impluvium design, not only safeguards the terrain from erosion but also facilitates rainwater collection for garden irrigation and plumbing purposes.


In summary, Denis Joelsons and his dedicated team have achieved a remarkable synthesis of architecture and nature, where the House of Circular Terraces seamlessly merges modern design with historical inspirations while creating a harmonious living space deeply connected to its surroundings.

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