A simple concrete and wood box has sprung up on a gently sloping lawn on the Brazilian island of Florianópolis. A shared common space for three family homes already on the site, Lounge Y – named after both the owner’s surname and for the shape of a favourite tree on the property – has become the go-to spot for three generations of a large family to come together and cook and eat.
When his client’s family reached nearly 60 members, Anderson Luis de Almeida of Nommo Arquitetos was called in to build a space devoted to family meals. Spread out among three individual 400-square-metre homes on the property, the family wanted a meeting place that could host them all at once. To accommodate the ever-growing crowd, de Almeida conceived two simple, square volumes where a covered barbecue once stood.
The main space, referred to appropriately as “the social block” is divided into living, dining and cooking zones, with the second, smaller white masonry “support block” housing the toilets, water tanks and storage space.
A palette of raw materials, namely concrete and dark toned wood, define the 120-square-metre social block. De Almeida used thick slabs of reinforced concrete to form the boxy structure, and left the interior void of any dividing walls, which provides a sense of openness and flow.
Wood planks used on the ceiling (supported by black-painted steel beams), deep wood casings on the windows and doors and a giant wood island all nod to the structure’s natural surroundings, and create a warm setting for family gatherings. Much of the wood used was salvaged from a nearby teardown, to minimize environmental impact.
The kitchen features a custom pizza oven plus a grill, oven and cooktop concealed in the eat-at island, to help manage the massive family meals that take place at the two adjacent dining tables.
Expansive glazing on all four walls floods the interior with natural light and turns the lush landscaping into a scenic backdrop for family gatherings. Skylights (with U.V.-blocking films) further contribute to the sun-bathed space. Strengthening the indoor-outdoor connection, all but one of the massive windows retract completely to create a seamless transition.
At the request of the owner, the flat roof was topped with a sandwich of a waterproofed concrete slab, thermal insulating Styrofoam and easy-to-maintain artificial turf, the visual effect of which allows the building to recede into its green backdrop.