Inspirational and recreational, Casa Cubo (the name sais it all) is an (almost) rectangular house, designed by Studio MK27, in the city of Sao Paolo. The uncluttered residence is entirely made of concrete, showcasing contemporary metallic finishings. The ground floor is structured as an open space but the interior can be “hidden” under sliding metallic panels (for an additional amount of privacy). The house is surrounded by luxuriant vegetation, being perfect for spending time to recharge your batteries. It’s like a mini jungle sprinkled with natural zen elements, that makes you forget about the city rush!
There’s also the wooden deck, that gives you a warm feeling of tranquility: it’s like you are sitting nearby the lake, admiring its transparence, without thinking of something specific, but losing your thoughts into its lucid infinity. The asymmetrical openings are adapted to the landscape. The interior is bright and breezy, inviting the nature inside. The splash of natural green can be wonderfully admired from the open space living room or from the terrace. It gets really beautiful in the evening, at dawn, when you can hear the wind whispering while sitting and enjoying a good book. Such a wonderful and neat house! Isn’t it?
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.
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