For a growing family looking to give its youngest members a space of their own, Pascali Semerdjian Architects kept simplicity foremost in mind – easy to use, easy to clean and especially easy to adapt to their ever-changing needs. Though small, at 247 square metres, the two levels of the PSA’s “toy house playland” comprise spaces to dine, watch TV, host parties and show off a collection of toys.
The sunken ground floor, accessed by a discrete entrance, houses a dining table that comfortably seats 10, next to a cluster of colourful, sculptural seats arrayed for TV viewing; a basic kitchen rounds out the amenities. Full-height glass doors separate the interior from an expansive courtyard, but can be fully retracted to eliminate the distinction between inside and outside entirely – a big plus in São Paulo’s tropical climate. Everywhere, walls are white, but oversized floor tiles add an additional splash of blue and yellow.
A staircase leads to the second floor; hidden underneath it, glimpsed through round perforations in the white supporting wall, is a yellow slide that deposits riders back onto the flagstones through a semi-circular opening.
On the second floor, a metal-framed structure shelters a living area surrounded by wide terraces. Half the living room area is fully enclosed by retractable glass doors, like those on the first floor, which incorporate shutters between their panes; inside, a second, cozier TV room with sofas. Remote-controlled blinds that drop from the ceiling further protect both this space and the one next to it – an open-air section of terrace that holds a Foosball table. Both spaces feature plenty of wall storage for storing toys, but while both are accented with brilliant slabs of crayon-box color, their shapes are distinct: horizontal shelves for the terrace, and a pattern derived from tessellated pentagons for the interior.
The twin spaces are further sheltered by retractable awnings; all told, these three layers – awnings, blinds, and shuttered glass doors – can be deployed in multiple combinations to configure the space for virtually any purpose or weather conditions. For further flexibility, PSA chose a structure that could be dismantled if necessary. “This way, the space can expand to become bigger or smaller, isolated or open,” according to the architects, “and it can also be easily dismantled in the future if the owners decide to move or reconfigure the house.”
But while practicality and adaptability make the space child-friendly, it’s the lighter touches that make it fun. A bridge adorned with a mass of red rope connects the play house to the main house over a narrow garden path, and playful art is everywhere: commissioned graffiti adorns pillars, and original works by Anish Kapoor, Keith Haring and Brazilian twins / hip-hop muralists OSGEMEOS adorn the walls and pillars.