The garden features a firepit and perforated-metal benches, all custom, and a spalike dipping pool.
The garden features a firepit and perforated-metal benches, all custom, and a spalike dipping pool.

A São Paulo Abode by FCstudio Prioritizes Outdoor Living

If you live in São Paulo, a city with a subtropical climate, you want as much outdoor living space as possible. Which is exactly why Casa Bento was commissioned. Its owners, a fortysomething couple who also work together, were frustrated by the limitations of their previous residence. A traditional house with conventional rooms, there was no flow between the various domestic spaces, much less with the surrounding garden. The couple, who have two young daughters, now 10 and 6 years old, dreamed of a home where they could indulge their love of entertaining family and friends—indoors and out.

Enter architect Flavio Castro, who founded his firm FCstudio with the conviction that architecture should be responsive to the ways people live—and that those ways are always changing. The clients had acquired a lot for their dream house on Rua Bento de Andrade—hence the name Casa Bento—the very street where both had grown up, in the highly de­sirable Jardim Paulista neighborhood. It’s a verdant section of the city, but also a busy and crowded one. So chief among Castro’s initial concerns was to conceive a plan that would exclude the bustle of the street and views of adjacent neighbors, while still feeling open, airy, and fully integrated into a lushly landscaped property.

Large Cor-Ten steel shutters form a dramatic brise-soleil enclosing the main bedroom of a house in São Paulo by FCstudio.
Large Cor-Ten steel shutters form a dramatic brise-soleil enclosing the main bedroom of a house in São Paulo by FCstudio.

FCstudio designs an airy, urban retreat

The architect’s solution, a 4,560-square-foot, two-story structure that sits in the middle of the walled lot, resembles a metal box perched on thick board-formed concrete sidewalls. The ground-floor end facades are fully glazed, a transparency that visually links the entry hall with the parking courtyard in the front and merges the indoor and outdoor living areas in the back. The second story, by contrast, is clad in folded steel lamina—the same material used for the street fence, a large part of which pivots upward like a giant garage door to admit cars—and topped with a narrow clerestory. During the day, the upper level presents a blank face to passersby, but at night it’s crowned by a halolike band of light.

The metal box opens up at the back, however, where a continuous ribbon of sliding glass windows runs across most of the rear facade before turning the corner to extend along part of the sidewall. The glazing encloses the main bedroom, admitting abundant natural light along with views of the green garden oasis below. The windows are fitted with enormous shutters that form a striking brise-soleil, which not only deflects the often-intense sun but also provides complete privacy and quiet when fully closed. The structure’s pivoting vanes are made of Cor-Ten steel—as is the front door—a favorite material of Castro’s since it’s honest, weathers well in the local climate, and has a handsome texture and color that harmonize with the house’s concrete, steel, and surrounding greenery.

A spacious patio for entertaining outdoors

The ground level is all about entertaining. Located in the back of the house, the social gathering zone comprises a large living-dining area flanked by a spacious patio and the garden on one side and a galley kitchen on the other. Essentially an elegant box clad inside and out with sumptuous pau ferro wood, the kitchen features a wide, proscenium-like passthrough that allows cook, family, and guests to converse freely while meals are being prepared. A row of simple Fernando Prado pendant fixtures hanging above a custom jatoba wood table defines the dining area, while a sofa, an armchair by Sérgio Rodrigues, and a bench by Claudia Moreira Salles form a seating group.

Sheltered by the second-floor overhang, the patio is outfitted with a long concrete dining table by Matthias Ambros von Holleben and an outdoor kitchen, also made of concrete, with distinctive teak doors. The patio’s cement pavers extend into the garden to frame a small dipping pool; a metal firepit and pair of perforated-metal benches incorporating clever built-in side tables and cachepots—all by FCstudio—sit nearby on the lush green lawn.

A dramatic blackened-steel staircase, suspended like a Donald Judd sculpture from the entry hall ceiling, rises to the family bedrooms on the second floor. The open landing at the top of the stair runs the full width of the house and is deep enough to double as a home theater. The window walls at each end of the long space can be darkened with curtains and steel lamina shutters, but the clerestory overhead provides soft natural light during the day.

The cantilevered second story shelters the patio and outdoor kitchen from sun and rain.
The cantilevered second story shelters the patio and outdoor kitchen from sun and rain.

The São Paulo home offers plenty of space to play

A long corridor down the side of the house leads to the daughters’ bedrooms and the main suite beyond. Each of the girls’ rooms features a platform bed playfully enclosed by a painted-steel frame in the form of a gable roof; built-in storage closets and drawers line the opposite wall. The children also have a play area in the basement, which is reached by a floating concrete stair as strikingly sculptural as its steel counterpart on the floor above. Staff quarters, service areas, and storage spaces are also found on this level.

Casa Bento may have been named for its street address, but the house has more than a little in common with the traditional Japanese lunch box its moniker evokes. Both achieve a masterful balance of the functional and the aesthetic—each a microcosm in which every element has its perfectly judged place.

a dining area with table made of wood and steel next to a living area with a two-piece cocktail table
The dining area’s table in Brazilian jatoba wood and steel and the living area’s two-piece cocktail table, in Cor-Ten and marble, are custom.
The galley kitchen is almost entirely clad in pau ferro, also known as Bolivian rosewood.
The galley kitchen is almost entirely clad in pau ferro, also known as Bolivian rosewood.
concrete on the walls and floors are in different textures throughout
Concrete — board-formed on the walls, polished on the floors —adds to the subtle play of different textures throughout the ground level.
The garden features a firepit and perforated-metal benches, all custom, and a spalike dipping pool.
The garden features a firepit and perforated-metal benches, all custom, and a spalike dipping pool.
A floating concrete stair with LED up-lights leads to the basement playroom.
A floating concrete stair with LED up-lights leads to the basement playroom.
A custom painted-steel canopy in the shape of a gable brings whimsy to a child’s bedroom.
A custom painted-steel canopy in the shape of a gable brings whimsy to a child’s bedroom.
a staircase going up from the ground floor
The glazed ground-floor front facade integrates the entry hall with the parking courtyard.
the top of the house clad in a boxlike volume of folded steel lamina
The 4,560-square-foot house comprises a concrete-and-glass ground floor containing social spaces, topped by boxlike volume clad in folded steel lamina for bedrooms and family areas.
the FCstudio designed home lit up at night
In addition to the house and interiors, FCstudio designed the exterior lighting and landscaping to ensure the seamless integration of indoor and outdoor entertaining spaces, a client priority.
A suspended welded-steel stair provides access to the second-floor family zones.
A suspended welded-steel stair provides access to the second-floor family zones.
The second-floor stair landing doubles as a home theater.
The second-floor stair landing doubles as a home theater.
a car going into the garage at night
The steel lamina fence pivots up for access to the parking court; otherwise, the street facade is blank, except for a lanternlike clerestory.
When the windows and brise-soleil panels are opened, tropical greenery envelops the main bedroom.
When the windows and brise-soleil panels are opened, tropical greenery envelops the main bedroom, where flooring is cumaru, a Brazilian hardwood used throughout the home’s second level.


PROJECT TEAM
fcstudio: joão felipe falqueto; leonardo rosa; erica miranda
creatto: woodwork
PRODUCT SOURCES
FROM FRONT
mezas: table (patio)
indiodacosta: chairs
Luminii: pendant fixtures (dining area)
dpot: chairs (dining area), bench (living area)
by kami: rug (living area)
casual móveis: table lamp (kitchen), side table (garden), floor lamp (theater)
casual exteriores: lounges (garden)
vitra: elephant stool (child’s room)
tapetah: rugs (child’s room, theater)
estúdio líder design: armchair, ottoman (main bedroom)
THROUGHOUT
braston: cement floor tile
taúna: wood flooring
suvinil: paint
esquadralum: windows

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