Set in the highlands of Minas Gerais, Brazil, Gustavo Penna’s Lincoln Residence is an elegant minimalist home that emphasizes its beautiful surrounding landscape. The home was built using simple materials such as glass and painted brick walls, and features wide windows that take advantage of the view while conserving energy. Inhabitat recently had the pleasure of speaking with Gustavo Penna of GPA&Ato discuss his methodology, what advice he has for students, what he considers pretentious architecture, and more. Read on to get a better idea of Penna’s inspiring architectural philosophy, and have a closer look at the beautiful Lincoln Residence.
The adjectives often invoked—gigantic and organic, warm and brutal—hint at contradictions that would seem impossible to resolve into anything as appealing as Brazilian Modernism. But the complicated history of Brazil coupled with the fierce independence of its people and their embrace of the new has led to a particularly rich design legacy now in the midst of an invigorating renaissance.
The country’s colonial past is steeped not only in Portuguese but also in Japanese, German and Italian influences. In the 1920s, Brazil opened its arms to European modernism but then promptly reinterpreted it in terms unique to the local climate, geography and materials, including wondrously exotic woods. The architects of the movement—Oscar Niemeyer, João Vilanova Artigas, Paulo Mendes da Rocha—became world renowned for their hotter, freer take on modernism.
Tamped down but not erased by the so-called “Foul Times” of military dictatorship from 1964 to 1985, two different approaches to architecture—one based in Rio that favored organic curves; the other in São Paulo more focused on the rational and well-engineered—have now blended into today’s very distinctive Brazilian style with its massive horizontals, simple but luscious textures and barrier-free flow between inside and out. Here, five firms show off the energy and refinement that is attracting global attention to Brazil’s design boom.