Located in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the Querosen House was designed by Grupo SP to take advantage of the of a low-lying site, 3 metres below street level. The home is concrete with Portuguese Stone floors and the North wall is a 3-storey shelving system that holds a staggering 7500 books accessed by metal platforms. The social zone takes advantage of the privacy on the lowest level offered by being below street level, while still maintaining views of the landscape beyond through the wall of glazings at the back of the residence.
With both sides of the home solid concrete walls, the library creates a camouflage to the mostly windowless wall while on the other side, the concrete wall is separated from the home by several feet, allowing for air and light to pass through. While the library zone is a 3-storey volume, the other side of the home - where the kitchen and bedrooms are located - are each single volumes.
Access to the home is from the library side and a glass door opens to the living room.
From the street, Querosen House is fenced off with two trees in the front yard. The home appears simple in structure, following the standard 10x40 metre format and keeps its secret of contemporary, wide open spaces and landscape views.
Its hard to believe that in the hustle and bustle of its location, the Querosen House could have such a private and calm backyard and such a voluminous social zone.
The metal platforms that connect the library to each of the 3 floors on the other half of the home bring an appealing industrial aesthetic to the zone that balances the historic aspect of the books themselves. Layered into this ying / yang decor are the semi translucent glass walls of the three levels and the rough concrete of the architecture. The lustre of the glass, the shine of the metal cat walks, the rough texture of the unfinished concrete and the rows upon rows of books on wood shelves all come together to create a dynamic warehouse atmosphere to what is actually a single family stand alone home.
The living area on the lowest level seems almost oblivious to the catwalks and books above.
The dining area is behind the 3-storey volume and with a regular ceiling height the space has a more intimate feel. Just beside the dining area is the concrete stairs that lead up to the private zones.
The stairs are located in the void between the concrete wall and the home itself. This void allows light and airflow to penetrate the home from the front and back while keeping the wall itself completely closed for privacy.
Even the view to the street is private thanks to the privacy fence and the two trees in the yard.
Photography by Nelson Kon