Even though the definition of a perfect home varies from individual to individual, there are a few universal traits that can be used to describe the concept, traits such as spaciousness, luxury and premium positioning. The Urca Residence in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil has them all. It was sketched out by by Studio Arthur Casas in 2011 and represents a delightful place to come home to.
Sliding glass doors help link the living room to a balcony that provides amazing panoramas of the city and its marina. A plethora of glass elements contribute to a welcoming ambiance while ensuring that natural light flows freely throughout the residence. The large windows, skylights and the glass railings of the interior staircase are great examples.
As for the kitchen, it comes with a round dining table and with a comfortable sitting area. It also boasts modern appliances and generous space for chopping, slicing and cooking. When it comes to entertainment, the residence flaunts a swimming pool on its rooftop terrace. What makes this swimming pool special is the fact that its bottom is actually transparent, which means that the residents who are relaxing in the living room can see those who swim above, through the ceiling.
Photos by Fernando Guerra I FG+SG
From the architect:
This penthouse in Rio’s Urca neighborhood has an extraordinary location, between the Sugar Loaf and Guanabara Bay. The client bought an apartment that was in terrible conditions, but with an exceptional potential for transformation. The project was guided by two complementary ideas: to create a pathway of discovery of the landscape on both sides, the bay and the mountain, and to bring as much light as possible to the three floors.
Undoubtedly the element that translates the better this idea is the main staircase. To add a new floor to the original duplex the whole building had to pass through a structural reinforcement. The section shows clearly the relation of the stairs and the landscape, bringing light through zenithal openings to all the floors and directing the view towards the landscape.
On the 1st floor we have placed the guestrooms, allowing the owners to have as much privacy as possible in their suite on the 3rd floor. Next to the guestrooms are all the service areas including kitchen and staff bedrooms.
The 2nd floor holds the main entrance next to the elevator. Most of the walls were demolished in order to create a space completely open to the Guanabara Bay. The horizontality of the space accentuates the integration with the landscape. The living room is lit by three openings on the water basin of the last floor, sliding glass doors open completely to the side, allowing total integration between the living room and the terrace. On the other side of this floor a gourmet kitchen receives natural light both from the atrium and a bay window that overlooks the sugar loaf. Both spaces can be divided through sliding doors.
The 3rd floor is divided by the master bathroom with the view directed to the Sugar Loaf on one side and the sauna, barbecue area, water basin and Jacuzzi on the other, looking towards the Corcovado and downtown Rio across the bay.
A Brazilian culture aficionado, the client selected with the Studio all the objects in the house, forming a vast collection of modernist design represented by names such as Sérgio Rodrigues, Jorge Zalszupin, Ricardo Fasanello and Jean Gillon, there are also several contemporary artworks and local pieces of craftsmanship.
The plan of the apartment is simple; our intention was to have fluidity between the floors, creating continuous pathways that accentuate the relation between architecture and an extraordinary landscape.