Tetris House

Márcio Kogan 


Tetris House
José Mateus

Writing about a house I have never seen in person seemed a strange proposition at first. Even the extraordinary photographs by the Guerra brothers are no substitute for the experience of an actual visit, of being inside the building, immersed in its architecture; they are no substitute for experiencing the light, the proportions, the textures, the passage of time, the cold and the heat.

Drawings and images can never fully convey the way in which the architecture reacts and adds to the circumstances of a location, a brief, the life and aspirations of a family. This is an elementary observation for an architect, and in any other circumstances I would have politely turned down the invitation.

Nevertheless, perhaps because I have always harboured a great admiration for modern Brazilian architecture, the teachings of which have taught me to become a better architect myself, perhaps as a result of the fascination inspired in me by São Paulo, a city I have visited multiple times, or perhaps driven by my deep curiosity for the career of Márcio Kogan, I fortunately decided to accept.

I often say that I do not believe in an architecture of powerful concepts at the expense of habitability. There is no shortage of examples of this kind of architecture, popularised by a press thirsty for strong, compelling images. However, the Tetris house demonstrates the architect’s great maturity, revealing an architecture of great clarity, in which I can imagine a comfortable, sophisticated and happy life.

The design strategy rests on a great portico in the shape of an inverted “U” which protects and shelters a fluid interior, closed where appropriate for reasons of privacy, built from wood. However, the boundaries drawn by the wood are not opaque, unfurling into a series of narrow openings allowing a certain degree of permeability.

Indoors and out are naturally interconnected, with a clear complementarity between indoor life and the garden/swimming pool. To achieve this effect, the architect uses a long wooden deck reaching into the garden, which gives the impression of having been taken from inside the house. The boundary between the interior and the exterior is radically dematerialised by glass walls featuring elegant frames in a minimal design.

I can easily imagine a family and friends in the midst of a lively party on a warm São Paulo evening, gliding freely among the succession of spaces between the garden and the covered terrace. Ultimately, this is another key feature of the project: the generous manner in which space opens itself up to the house’s inhabitants.




Location São Paulo, Brazil
Client Private
Project 2008
Completion 2013
Architecture Studio MK27
Authors Marcio Kogan, Carolina Castroviejo
Team Fernando Falcon, Maria Cristina Motta, Mariana Ruzante. Studio collaborators Eduardo Glycerio, Gabriel Kogan, Lair Reis, Mariana Simas, Oswaldo Pessano, Renata Furlanetto, Samanta Cafardo, Suzana Glogowski
Interiors Diana Radomysler
Landscape Renata Tilli
Structures Pinto Rodrigues Engenharia Estrutural
Contractor All’e Engenharia / Eng. Luis Esteves Caldas Neto