House in Ubatuba / SPBR Arquitetos

© Nelson Kon

Architects: SPBR Arquitetos
Location: Ubatuba,
Principal in charge: Angelo Bucci
Project team: Ciro Miguel, Juliana Braga, João Paulo Meirelles de Faria, Flávia Parodi Costa, Tatiana Ozzetti, Lucas Nobre, Nilton Suenaga
Client: Antônio Carlos Onofre / Regina Silveira Onofre
Structural engineer: Ibsen Puleo Uvo
Landscape architect: Raul Pereira
Lightning design: Ricardo Heder
Construction: Bremenkamp Engenharia e Construção Ltda.
Total floor area: 340 sqm
Design year: 2005-2006
Construction Year: 2007-2009
Photographs: Nelson Kon


Ubatuba is one of the most important coastal cities in the state of São Paulo.

© Nelson Kon

This 55m x 16m ground plot, located at the far right end of Tenório’s Beach, borders on the seashore at one side and goes up a 50% slope hill, only reaching street level at 28 meters.

The hard steep hill and its trees are both protected by environmental laws. They have inspired the entire strategy used in the conception of the project.

© Nelson Kon


Three columns, made in reinforced concrete, support the house.

The casting of these columns is possible by the use of sliding forms.

© Nelson Kon

Four steel beams lay on the top of them in order to hang the slabs from above and also to avoid the use of support frames during the construction process, making it faster and more rational.

The very thin, beamless slabs and their level arrangements allow incredible sea views from every room inside the house.


The main access to the house is made “upside down”.

© Nelson Kon

The terrace on top is at same level of the street. A bridge connects the street to the main entrance of the house, allowing different views of the sea, of the hill and of the trees. Besides preserving a natural landscape, this hanged house actually floats among the trees, surrounded by birds and open towards the sea.

In other words, this is a house that can smell, hear and see.

Cite: "House in Ubatuba / SPBR Arquitetos" 08 Aug 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 19 Sep 2014. <>


  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    This is beautiful. Sensitive to the wilderness below. So many things live below the house. I would love to be there.

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    One of my favourites! The interaction with the context is great! A treehouse by concrete!

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Grâce au réchauffement climatique, ce type d’architecture brutaliste, très ouverte, sans isolation sera constructible en Europe tout en respectant les normes thermiques …

    C’est toujours très frustrant de voir ces bâtiment où dedans dehors sont très liés, où un simple mur en béton ou un simple vitrage suffisent.
    En Europe, au dessus de l’Espagne, c’est plutôt maintenant des maisons quasiment hermétiques, très isolées par rapport à l’extérieur si l’on veut répondre aux normes thermiques, aux labels type PassivHaus …

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    The view from the beach (see picture) totally reminds me of Jurassic Park. The way the T-rex storms out of the woods looks just like this!

    Anyway, nice work. Love the feeling of living “up in the air”. And the circulation does not seem too complex to be able to enjoy living fully. Spaces look very comfortable too.

  5. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Yes… real brasilian creativity!!! May be not so high range of constraction quolity, bu so impressive… Passion and beauty… To say I like it, it means to say nothing. Honesty I do not like it by the style. But I fill the power of architecture in this project…

  6. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    lightness is certainly NOT something I can say about this design.

    unfortunatelly this is a trend that most brazilian architects cannot help to follow – as if it was impregnated on their DNA: concrete. ans more concrete. thanks to the Sao Paulo architecture old school.

    in times where efficiency means money and less agression to the environment, more industrialized construction technologies should be taken into consideration. specially in the middle of the wild.

  7. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    would be better if the shading device over the balcony did not block the view of the ocean from the pool.

  8. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    what an excellent response to difficult site conditions!
    I admire how the structural and architectural solutions reinforce each other.

  9. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I don’t know how I feel about this house. It is definitely impressive and in a perfect world where the use of resources were not of concern and did not impact anything then it would be great. However I can’t get passed the fact that this is a structure to house a single family that uses the same amount of resources that a large public building used by hundreds, if not thousands of people would use. In this way I find it very outdated and almost obnoxious.

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      John, I understand your concerns, but we are here to judge architectural qualities, not the injustices of our society. These owners have the resources and whether you like it or not, they are going to have a house as big as they want. They were lucky (and we are, too) to trust those architects with creating an example of good taste.

      • Thumb up Thumb down 0

        Bloghouse – I think you misunderstood where I was coming from. I am not talking about social injustices of our society. By resources I am not meaning the personal resources of the owner. If we are talking about ‘architectural qualities’ and on this site we are talking about modern architecture then the subject of responsible architecture has to be raised. Because whether you like it or not if modern architects don’t take on a responsibility to change wasteful practices then we all may as well give up throw our waste in the ocean, drive bigger dirtier cars and continue to build bigger more obnoxious houses to show our ‘wealth’.

  10. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    John, I know where you’re coming from. I used ‘resources’ coincidentally, without referring to what you meant. Anyway, in this particular case how would you suggest to ‘change wasteful practices’? As a responsible architect, what would you do if offered a commission to design a home on this site with this program?
    BTW, do we know what resources (your meaning) does this building use and how wasteful it is, compared to a house of a similar size?

  11. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    uhm, i think in every man´s heart, there´s a kid that would love to be there at least one night, what a treehouse

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      I agree with Isla; okay, it may have cost billions, but what a house! speaking of architecture, it is the most astonishing house I’ve seen for a while; see the use of concrete, glass and wood: each material is used with taste; and I’m not speaking of the site and its landscape… Usually I’m not “the bigger-the better”-friendly, but when I saw this house, I changed my opinion, just for a moment.
      Of course, it’s not social housing, it does not rebuild favelas, but this house give keys to make things in a way: you could make buildings with the same materials, the same use of it, the same solutions for windows, terraces, circulations, and it could be a beautiful building.

  12. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I tend to agree with John- the construction methods are extremely energy inefficient. Architects need to take a lead in energy efficiency because they have the intellectual resources to do so. Even when a client wants something like this in terms of size and layout, it can be constructed more energy efficiently. I have the view that clients with the financial resources to do this type of project are most probably leaders of some kind so its highly likely that in discussions with their architects they would be able to see the merits of energy efficient construction and that they have a global responsibility to act in this manner- to lead the way, as leaders.

    Stylistically I think this is somewhere in the 1970′s, but I do not see that as a negative thing- it was a great time in architecture, but great architecture is about looking to the future stylistically. Part of that style is the arrangement of materials and construction systems and part of that arrangement is related to energy efficiency, so the application of energy efficiency tends to produce a certain stylistic approach, especially when it affects planning- ie orietation of living spaces to make use of sun penetration etc.

    I like the glamour of the spaces, but as an architect myself, I know that this glamour has not been maximised: the subservience of the designer to rectilinear forms (ie international style) means that spaces and their orientations do not make the most of outlooks- angling of spaces and more organic spaces that follow contours would be far more effective in doing this. The pool area looks particularly austere.

  13. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Geralmente vejo os Projectos que apareçem aqui no Archdaily mas nem comento.
    Agora este Projecto é como uma lufada de ar fresco, talvez dos melhores que tenha visto ultimamente, se bem que apresenta algumas semelhanças com um do Rem Koolhas por causa da piscina no telhado; agora o resto é diferente como é óbvio;
    Gosto bastante da separação dos módulos e do caminho que se faz através de pequenas pontes e da envolvente.
    Parabéns, está excelente!

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