Sergio Bernardes


“Sérgio Bernardes, at just 32 years old, elaborates one of the most radical projects of modern residence. A corrugated aluminum roof rests on a metal truss and thin steel pillars, flying over and protecting the building, which alternates open and closed spaces. Glass, bricks and stone organize the spaces: at one end was the intimate apartment of the residents, with a level a little higher than the others. A long and elegant gallery with a two-section ramp serves as a balcony and leads to the social lounge and the rooms of the numerous and constant guests, located at the other end, in order to guarantee maximum comfort and privacy. Visits that included, in addition to those intellectual friends already mentioned, distinguished foreigners who visited Brazil, such as the poet Robert Lowell, Alexander Calder, Monroe Wheeler and Aldous Huxley.

The house, open to friends and nature, was built over three long years, due to the pioneering nature of many of its materials and the care of the finishes. The trusses, for example, were assembled at the construction site from the bending of steel rebar spars usually used as the internal structure of reinforced concrete structures. The rebars were welded in a “zig-zag” between the long side pieces. In the final finish, the latter were painted black while the intermediate sections, in “v”, were white.

The house won the award for works by architects under 40 at the II Bienal de São Paulo, conferred by an illustrious jury made up of Alvar Aalto, Walter Gropius and Ernest Rodger. This was not, however, the only prize to contemplate the house and its inhabitants. Elizabeth Bishop was awarded the Pulitzer of Poetry in 1955 in recognition of her book Poems: North & South – A Cold Spring. Written in Samambaia, he had among his poems one dedicated to his abode, the “Song for the rainy season” which ended like this: “the steam / climbs the thick vegetation / effortlessly, turns around / and envelops both /house and rock, / in a private cloud” (2).

This house, although still handcrafted, was the first consistent experiment in the use of metallic structures in Brazil, foreshadowing a fertile path that would be developed by Bernardes in the years that followed. The sobriety and economy of its straight forms and open planes incorporated the landscape and the rusticity of local materials.”

CAVALCANTI, Lauro. A importância de Sér(gio) Bernardes. Arquitextos, São Paulo, ano 10, n. 111.00, Vitruvius, ago. 2009.

Also see:
Fatos raros – Quando a ficção não é melhor que a realidade. Kykah Bernardes

BERNARDES, Kykah. Fatos raros. Quando a ficção não é melhor que a realidade. Drops, São Paulo, ano 14, n. 073.01, Vitruvius, out. 2013.

Petrópolis, RJ

Project date:

Kykah Bernardes, Paulo de Barros - Acervo Sergio Bernardes