An important collection of African art rests on the wooden sideboard in the living room of Ramp House, located in a quiet garden-neighbourhood in São Paulo. The owners intend to convert the place in a cultural foundation in the future, thus the antique pieces, collected over the last decades, have determined the architectural design approach for the house: the use of the social spaces reveal the African masks in a delicate exhibition experience, in which art blends with everyday objects and domestic life merges with the historical pieces without the feeling of living in a museum.
A 25.50 meters long ramp – which connects the living room on the ground floor with the bedrooms on the first floor, where are also located the small home offices – organizes the internal architectural promenade and allows for observing the spaces from different perspectives. This movement between floors is made smoothly, as an interlude between the collective and the intimate areas.
The architecture of the Ramp House promotes a radical spatial continuity between the interior and exterior not only through large panes of sliding glass doors - that can be fully opened, connecting the living room with the garden – but also through the consistency in the use of the same materials both inside and outside. The wooden facade folds back towards the interior, becoming the roof liner that, in turn, folds again at the hall by the ramp to create an inner facade.
This three-dimensional surface building, a wooden ribbon, determines the structure and the actual volume of the house: a box – made of local Brazilian timber - projecting itself outward from the dense raw concrete sidewalls. Pillars rationally distributed over the internal space complete the structural system and contribute to enable the large spans of up to 9.70 meters. Setting up the ramp’s background - and of the whole living room - another concrete wall creates an austere, minimalist environment made with raw and natural materials. The timber on the roof lining also helps to complete the spatial feeling of coziness in the room.
The 4 meter-wide veranda – facing the garden, under the cantilever– works as a gradation between exterior and interior, and constitutes a covered but open living space, pleasant to be used in hot days. This solution dialogues with the tradition of Brazilian architecture, both colonial and modern, which used historically analogous spaces for spatial transitions.
The relationship with the Brazilian architectural culture is also present in the folding wooden panels on the facade. Made of small brises-soleil (2cm wide and 7mm spacing), these elements allow for the shading of the bedrooms, with continued air circulation. The resulting is thermally pleasant internal spaces throughout the year.
The decor and interior design were conceived as a fundamental part of the architecture. The piece of furniture that holds the African masks in the living room, for example, had to have its own specific structural design to enable it to have the same clear span as the pillars (9,70m). The chairs, armchairs, and tables mix old and new pieces by local Brazilian designers – such as Joaquim Tenreiro, Sergio Rodrigues – as well as international ones – such as Vladimir Kagan and George Nakashima - in order to highlight the architecture of the house and the artwork.
Studio mk27, located in the chaotic city of São Paulo, was founded in the early 80’s by architect Marcio Kogan and today is composed of 22 architects as well as several collaborators worldwide. The architects of the team, great admirers of the Brazilian modernism generation, seek to fulfill the difficult task of rethinking and giving continuity to this iconic architectural movement.. The projects of studio mk27 are valued for their formal simplicity, always working with special attention to detail and finishing. Kogan is an honorary member of the AIA (American Institute of Architects), professor at Escola da Cidade, guest professor at the Politecnico di Milano and is part of “The Wallpaper* 150 Famous for 15 Years”. He leads a team of architects who, for the most part, have been working with him for over a decade.Since 2001, when he started a co-creation and cooperative work system at the office, studio mk27 has won more than 200 national and international awards.