Gustavo Penna continues in the tradition of leading Brazilian architects including Oscar Niemeyer and Paulo Mendes da Rocha, but he has long stepped away from the reliance on concrete and quick construction that earned Brazilian architecture criticism over the past 50 years. From his office in Belo Horizonte in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, Penna has left his mark on Brazil with his design of public spaces, houses and offices. He adds to his legacy with the Lincoln Residence, a 6,400 square feet house in Nova Lima, a town 4,000 feet above sea level mostly known for its mining industry.
The Lincoln Residence at its core is a square with a centered glass cube, which maximizes the use of natural light and air circulation. Penna describes the house as reverent to nature and open space, and articulates his point of view with a minimal amount of shapes and building materials. But the house also harkens back to Brazil’s past.
Each living space integrates closely with the other rooms in the house, the way colonial homes were built under Portuguese rule. A service corridor under the house also lets the owner and guests quickly move from one side of the house to the other, a reminder of past times when a household staff kept a home running discretely behind the scenes.
With Penna’s house open not only to the surrounding nature but the skies above, the Lincoln Residence truly embraces both functionality and aesthetics.