A four-volume home designed around a central courtyard
Seen from above, Pinwheel House does indeed resemble a pinwheel in the wind, its blades spinning outwards from its center. Comprising four volumes, this home is set deep in the Brazilian savannah of Cerrado, the area with the highest biodiversity in the world. Designed by Equipe Lamas, the house is a true retreat, where you can live in contact with nature and rediscover its slow rhythms. This is further enhanced by the constant visual connection between inside and out created by numerous full-height windows, which simultaneously produce an effect of contrasting solids and voids.
The central courtyard is the heart of the home, on the one hand acting as a distributive and organizational element for the various wings and, on the other, acting as a passageway between the different volumes. Functional from the design and architectural points of view, this approach is also valid from a more symbolic perspective. To underscore the central role of nature, as well as of the courtyard itself, an ancient tree has been replanted here. A pink trumpet tree, a species that has always grown in this area, its presence pays tribute to the ancient inhabitants of this part of Cerrado.
The floorplan of Pinwheel House, which occupies 4036 sq.ft. (375 m2), makes the distribution system immediately obvious: the first volume is the garage and utility areas; the second, a TV room, an office, and the master bedroom; the third has two bedrooms, a bathroom, and an artist studio; and the fourth is the dining room and living area, with a bookcase and piano, which leads to the kitchen. Besides being connected to the central courtyard via sliding glass doors, this last volume is connected, on the opposite side, to the swimming pool. When you’re inside this space, therefore, your eye can wander back and forth between the two views.
With their understated materials (concrete and wood, to name two) and colors (white walls with neutral, delicate tones used for the floors and soft furnishings), the interiors of Pinwheel House form a backdrop to the artworks and paintings in the home. And these include works by international designers, including architect Samuel Lamas. A similar role is played by the bookcases, which add a splash of color to the rooms and corridors.
In designing this home, a great deal of attention was paid to sustainability and environmental impact. The windows, which allow a large amount of natural light inside, make it possible to use less artificial light. Plantings and the connection with outside improve the microclimate. There’s also a rooftop solar panel system that can heat the water and swimming pool throughout the year.
Pinwheel House therefore works in close symbiosis with the surrounding environment. The native plantings in the courtyard and surrounding garden included in Mariana Siqueira’s landscape design make the house an extension of the local biome.
Location: Brasilia, Brasil
Architects: Equipe Lamas
Gross floor area: 375 m2
Landscape design: Mariana Siqueira
Lighting: Samuel Lamas
Photography by Joana França, courtesy of Equipe Lamas