Vila Romana Residence / MMBB Arquitetos

Architects: MMBB Arquitetos
Location: Sao Paulo,
Architects in charge: Fernando de Mello Franco, Marta Moreira, Milton Braga
Project team: Marina Sabino, Márcia Terazaki, Marina Acayaba, Rodrigo Brancher, Thiago Rolemberg
Client: Iran do Espirito Santo
Project year: 2004-2005
Construction year: 2005-2006
Site Area: 500 sqm
Constructued Area: 435 sqm
Budget: US $425,000
Structural Engineer: Kurkdjian e Fruchtengarten Engenheiros Associados
Mechanical Engineer: Procion Engenharia
Interior Design: MMBB e Iran do Espírito Santo
Landscape: Iran do Espírito Santo & Ana Cintra
Fundaciones: Cepollina Engenheiros Consultores
Contractor: Bremenkamp Engenharia e Construção
Photographs: Nelson Kon

The design of the Espirito Santo Residence is derived from the twin imperatives of topography and usage.
It is situated on a corner plot with views of the town’s principal valley, with a drop of 10 meters from one side of the plot to the other.

The first question to be tackled was that of creating an artificial terrain that would allow for easy transit around the external areas and their use for day-to-day activities. The landscaping was determined by the creation of these areas.

The second question was that of the residence’s dual usage. The building houses not only the residence but also the working studio of the artist owner.

The strategy adopted was to divide the building into two autonomous blocks. In contact with the terrain is the studio block, partly embedded in the hill and illuminated only by an overhead opening. Its interior is divided by a series of walls which serve as supports for the works to be created there.

Suspended above the terrain is the block containing the residency itself, open to the views that surround it. Its internal layout is designed to facilitate integration and fluidity between separate sectors for living, sleeping, cooking and the service area.

Between the two blocks, on the slab that forms the roof of the studio, a large veranda has been created, partly in shadow. Another space, uncovered, occupies the slab over the residential block, increasing the total external ground area.

The suspended block is supported on only four points, with prominent overhangs. The two solid slabs that support it are constructed from exposed prestressed concrete. A further layer of concrete conceals the steel reinforcing elements. This concrete and the window system form the façade of the building.

The concrete slabs, once polished, form the floor of the interior environment, with no need for additional surfacing.

Conical niches in the concrete allow for the direct installation of lighting, with no need for additional fixtures.

It is this succession of constructional features that defines the project as a whole.

Cite: "Vila Romana Residence / MMBB Arquitetos" 10 Jun 2008. ArchDaily. Accessed 28 May 2015. <>
  • JUST COOL Design Blog

    residence? this is ugly cold and boxy – not warm and comfortable – it reminds me of an office building

    • Don

      Who cares if it reminds YOU of an office building, or if you think an office reminds you of a home. Is that your parameter of judgment? If you would live there??

  • Wangsk

    I love the floating box, simple and clean.

  • Mal genio

    It’s good to design without the seismic problem…

    Also being able to do it like this.


  • max the architect

    this is good and mature work ! congratulations!

  • charles

    cool. i studied le corbusier’s villa savoie too.
    but despite being unoriginal, this is still a nice work.

    • kostas

      villa stein my friend, savoye is another story…nice reload though( contemporary interpretation lets

  • Joao

    Sao Paulo’s architects keep repeating themselves. Why should a house always be supported by only 4 columns? I don’t know either why those architects from Sao Paulo always choose a solution based on the “floating box” and exposed concrete finish.

    The clients and sites are all the same? i don’t think so…
    this smells like a neo-academicism…

  • Joao

    i forgot to say about the water reservoir: always floating above the roof suported by a single column.

    we also can remember the kitchen in a single line, iluminated by a huge horizontal window.

    etc, etc, etc…

    it seems like a formula..

  • 2MACoff