Quinta Da Baroness acts as the second home of a family and is located in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Its unique architecture was designed by Studio Arthur Casas, constructed with recycled bricks and Cumaru wood as main materials, giving a natural finish to the different volumes that comprise it. A sloped terrain helped the architects hide the contemporary architecture from the street view, allowing only a small part of the volumes to be seen by passers-by. The true beauty of this modern residence can be seen from its backside, where the terrace with pool is slightly shadowed by a cantilevering volume and large overhangs. A tall and slim volume in the middle connects the other two and draws natural light in through huge windows. Overlooking a golf course and green hills, the residence can be fully open to the outside in the living area, seamlessly connecting the comfortable interior to the fresh and liberating exterior.
What is new and exciting now can quickly begin to look tired and out of fashion, so the best buildings don’t just consider what will be interesting to look at now, but also how it might look to people in five, fifty or even a hundred years’ time. 2013’s hotly contested RIBA Stirling Prize went to Witherford Watson Mann Architects for their work on Astley Castle, Warwickshire. In what RIBA Past President Stephen Hodder has described as an extreme retrofit, the project essentially saw a new building inserted subtly into the heart of the old, with a new, two storey residence now hidden within the sandstone walls of the ruins of this medieval castle, to be used as a holiday home for up to eight guests
Energy during the construction process was saved by using FSC-certified glulam timber instead of steel to create the building’s distinctive wavy roof, while the store’s external walls use hemclad, a highly innovative insulator made from hemp, which, like all plants, absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere as it grows. An 80,000 litre water tank below ground provides water for the store’s toilets and waters the site’s green wall’, which provides natural insulation, acts as an all-natural pollution filter near the car park, and helps to encourage biodiversity. The result is a building that uses a fraction of the energy of structures of a similar size, and is still very popular with local shoppers.