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Guto Requena’s Terrace Apartment in Brazil brings outdoor living in

The Terrace Apartment by Estudio Guto Requena is a plant-filled, urban tour de force by the Brazilian architect – and his own home

The Terrace Apartment by Estudio Guto Requena stands out in more ways than one. It is the Brazilian architect's own base, designed as the forever home for himself, his husband and their two dogs; it is housed in an icon of São Paulo's modernist architecture, designed in 1962 by Botti Rubin Arquitetos; and importantly, it also a unique urban retreat that brings, quite literally, nature and the outdoors in, within a leafy, 21st-century, design-led tour de force that highlights that life in a bustling metropolis like São Paulo need not mean a disconnect from nature.

The Terrace Apartment by Estudio Guto Requena

For Requena, the Terrace Apartment also represents an update on the concept of living. The project's original, modernist bones have been rethought and brought into the 21st century, not only in terms of amenities and style, but also technologically. Immersed in an 'urban forest,' the project 'reflects on the impacts of new digital technologies and new ways of living', the architect ponders.

Filling the interior with flexibility that allows the space to flow and adapt to the needs of its users, the apartment is transformed into a green retreat. The layout favours a less conventional room arrangement – instead of making a clear distinction between public and private spaces, as is often the traditional way, Requena focused more on creating hubs for functions within an interior where boundaries are blurred.

The lesser seen aspect of the redesign involves its 'digitalisation', as network cables, microcontrollers and sensors have been invisibly embedded into the design, creating a home that is thoroughly modern and ultra-connected. 'Accesses, lighting, irrigation, audio and video, curtains and furniture, everything is automated,' the architect explained.

The couple wished they had a balcony, which the existing layout didn't provide, so bringing the nature in was the obvious solution for the enterprising architect. Working with a selection of local to Brazil species, an urban green was created, complete with fruit trees, a productive vegetable garden, and species with flowers. Planters, suspended plant boxes and bespoke green walls nod to the principles of sustainable architecture through biophilic design. Seeking materials with sustainable credentials throughout the design supports this approach too.

At the same time, a selection of parametric furniture and art created in house by Estudio Guto Requena, populates the interior. Highlights include the Attraction buffet, the Turing rug and the Heart Wall art installation, an interactive piece that becomes the heart of the home. These are blended with vintage and contemporary finds, both from Brazil and abroad, such as items by Sérgio Rodrigues, Jean Gillon, Lina Bo Bardi, Guilherme Wentz, Lucas Neves, Carol Gay, Maarten Baas, Antonio Citterio, Yrjo Kukkapuro, Le Corbusier, Jasper Morrison and Frank Gehry.

The Terrace Apartment is a warm and characterful home, as well as the result of 20 years of research by Requena. His studies on 'the impacts of the new digital technologies in architecture, urban planning and design' at the Center for Interactive Living Studies of University of São Paulo (USP) also birthed a book titled Hybrid Dwelling: Subjectivities and Home Architecture in the Digital Age, which has been recently published by Senac.

Guto Requena’s Terrace Apartment in Brazil brings outdoor living in


  • R. Maj. Diogo, 91 - Bela Vista, São Paulo - SP, 01324-001, Brazil
  • Estudio Guto Requena