Guarujá House / Bernardes Jacobsen


Architects: Bernardes Jacobsen Architecture
Location: São Paulo, Brazil
Partners in Charge: Thiago Bernardes and Paulo Jacobsen
Collaborators: Fabiana Porto and Gabriel Bocchile
Interior Design: Marco Aurélio Viterbo
Design year: 2003
Setting up: 2007
Photographs: Leonardo Finotti

The whole idea of the project was created when Thiago was visiting the site. There, in front of the client, he sketched what later would be the transverse section of what was being proposed: a vacation house, for a couple and their two kids. A place where they could invite friends over frequently.

Designed to be a pavilion supported by only five pillars, with en-suites bedrooms, living room(s)/sitting room(s)/dining room(s), balconies and a pool facing the beautiful sight of Guarujá beach. Preserved terrain and vegetation. Facing the street, a low and discrete horizontal façade.

The sea is the main focus of the building’s greatest view, but this didn’t follow the best sun orientation. Willing to take advantage of the great view, the decision to place the pool away from the building was taken, having then the house east facing and the hillside throwing a shadow over the pool.

Due to the terrain’s inclination, a structural deck 18m above the ground was used as a foundation to the development of a new area. Also, this deck had to be supported by only five tree-shaped concrete pillars because of the difficulties found on making the structural foundation. Above this deck the whole structure is metallic, which makes the building process simpler, since it’s all made in loco.

Since the house is detached from the ground, it acts as a big tree shading the smaller ones, keeping the natural process of the forest and preserving it.

This platform consists of the whole social area of the house and a great external deck with the swimming pool lane in its extremity. The trees where planted in this level, giving a sensation of the house being in the canopy of the trees.

Apparently the house is limited to the two floors above this deck, but actually, most of the plan is placed below it.

The house is accessed from the second floor, where there are two en-suites bedrooms and also the entry hall. In the bottom floor we have the housekeeper’s house, kitchen, service-area, steam bath, gym and four bedrooms.

The whole house was structured on steel and the doors and windows were made of wood and glass. The floor surface is covered of wood, giving the sensation of softness, and also making the deck look like floating. In the areas where their aren’t any eaves, the walls are covered with copper and due to the rain exposure, the material will change naturally, making it look even more beautiful. Inside, wood is the main material, used, for example, on the balcony linings.

Accomplishing such a project was very gratifying for the architects. A big, large planned house witch disappears in the forest. A great house almost unnoticed among the trees.

Cite: "Guarujá House / Bernardes Jacobsen" 06 May 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 24 May 2015. <>
  • Jeison

    Bernardes/ Jacobsen at their best!

  • Niccolò


  • Bo Lucky

    It’s a beautifully designed and skillfully constructed house. Excellent job!!! This is not an architectural issue but I am curious if I am the only one wondering where the money came from to raise such a marvelous cottage…

  • Marcus

    Fantastic. Excellent work and great use of materials. The Architects did a wonderful job.

  • Jeison

    What do You mean, Bo? ‘wondering where the money came from?’ It´s obvious it came from a wealthy family. Families can earn money in many ways, do you know that? They can be business people, doctors, artists…Guarujá is one of the nearest beaches outside São Paulo. Do you have an minimun idea of what size são paulo is???? And u ‘wonder about the money’. Come on…

  • Daniel Con

    from the inside looking out, yes it appears to be among the tree canopy. But the house hardly disappears among the trees as the author claims. Look at the image of it on the hillside…..

  • Filipe


  • Bo Lucky

    Jeison … and the house belong to a businessman, doctor or artist? It’s not an architectural issue but… you know… people think…

  • Jeison

    Bo, unfortunate observation. You seem like those people that think that in Brazil there´s not much than forest and snakes…Go learn some more.

  • james mcnally

    totally beautiful. this is as tasteful as an oversized luxury home gets. my only complaint is with the deck surrounding the pool. the square tree planters seem like out of some 1990′s decking catalog.

    Overall though it’s stunning.

    “where did the money come from…”

  • viniruski

    Clear and mature. I want more!

  • JP

    beautiful house. but imagine other constructions like that inserted in this landscape… and about sanitation? I have doubts about the area in which the architecture fits… would be a protected area? I think so.
    few people in brazil can have a house like this.
    and in the Rio slums is discussed “eco limits”…
    but, it’s a beautiful house.

  • dustin

    wow great house, must have been a very expensive structure but if you can afford it… why not? very tasteful

  • João

    as a Brazilian, I’m really intrigued about the image some people have about my country… Rio slums, violence, misery, snakes, naked people, samba, caipirinha and carnaval… fortunatelly, we’re much more than that… but I also know this is part our government’s fault, with the help of some fake non-governamental organizations who spread only bad images trying to call people’s attention… thanks to some architects and websites like Archdaily you have the oportunity to check we also have some beautiful and creative aspects…

    • Laryssa


      muito feliz seu comentário no Archdaily, sobre o post da casa no Guarujá, de Bernardes+Jacobsen. Incrível a maneira como foram feitos os comentários anteriores aos seus, como se não pudéssemos ter arquitetura de qualidade por sermos um país emergente.

  • Moraes

    the owner must be an outland tourist with money.. ;)

    é gente.. engraçado que na web tem brasileiro espalhado por todo o canto e os caras ainda pensam que somos engraxates ignorantes ou prostitutas.

  • Julio de Abreu

    O avô dele, Sérgio Bernardes, era um dos mais atuantes arquitetos do Brasil. O que veio depois dele não poderia ser menos gratificante. Um belo trabalho junto à paisagem.

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  • Richie Phan

    I love the way Bernardes Jacobsen design!

  • Erin

    Wow. Beautiful.
    I also enjoyed the plans, which include a “family meats roon”, and my favorite – the “dong’s roon”…

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  • Phillipe Donato

    I dont think Brazil is in discussion here . It was just a stupid coment from Mr. Bo Lucky , or Mr. Un Lucky.

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  • Mapiurka

    just womnderfull and warm!

  • Ladzono

    Wery nice…

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  • Julie

    E’ uma pena que a grande maioria das pessoas aqui fora (fora do Brasil) nao sabe o que nos, arquitetos brasileiros, somos um dos mais criativos na aera. Nao temos medo de ousar e inavovar com nossa arquitetura moderna.

  • Paula

    Really beuatiful house, outstanding detailing and very nice to observe its integration with the landscape. tasteful.

    to bo lucky: where does the money come from? lol
    so you think no one has money in Latin America? Very funny, try reading newspapers, or google “emerging economies”.

  • Megastructures

    the architecture is according to the location…..both rival each other in beauty.

  • Laryssa

    Bernardes + Jacobsen are really amazing architects! Their work is inspiring, and their projects are just like the Brazil’s tropical way of life. Knowing a little more about their job is really worth!