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Flag House

From Tropics to Ski Country

Studio MK27

Flag House
By Michael Webb -

Marcio Kogan heads Studio MK27, a flourishing practice in São Paulo which has won acclaim for a succession of modernist houses that respond to the sub-tropical climate of that region. Many are second homes in the forested coastal region for discerning residents of Brazil’s commercial capital: linear blocks of free-flowing space that are cut away to accommodate shady patios and trap cooling breezes. They reach out to embrace lush vegetation and employ indigenous materials to capture the spirit of place. 

A Canadian couple with two children were intrigued by photographs of these houses, traveled south to explore them close-up, and commissioned the architects to design a 1,130-sq. m house on a mountainside in Whistler, a ski resort two hours north of their home and workplace in Vancouver. “We want to be in touch with nature”, they told Kogan, “just like your houses in Brazil, but in a cold climate”. It was a daring choice, for this was Studio MK27’s first building in north America and in snow country. The winters in Whistler are harsh and the house brings living areas and bedrooms together on the upper level in a sleek glass box, pulling in sunlight and spectacular views on all four sides. This is cantilevered off a podium containing a lap pool, recreational facilities and three guest bedrooms, as well as an entry and mud room for skiers. 

The mountainside below is hollowed out to accommodate a garage for five cars, a wine cellar enclosed by glass sliders and a mechanical room. This is the principal point of entry and is linked by an open flight of stairs to the upper levels. As construction proceeded, the couple decided they would use the house year-round, so half the fixed windows were converted to sliders. That provides cross ventilation on warm summer days. Though the site is only 8,100 sq. m in extent it backs up to a protected area and is well removed from houses in the valley below....

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