The Heart of Midcentury Design With a Modern Twist

Thompson Hess House

Text from Architect Felipe Hess Designed by the architect Rodolpho Ortenblad in 1957 for his family, the house was renovated starting from the recovery of the elements that characterize the original project and some changes in its program and plan.

The front ground block, where there was an extensive service program and opened onto a central courtyard of the same character, started housing the garage and a playroom open to an outside area.

Now, it has a garden and also connects to the TV room, in the main block, through new wooden and glass doors that reproduce the original frame. 

Thompson Hess House
Thompson Hess House
Thompson Hess House
Thompson Hess House

The social hall panel was restored and a “shrimp” door was incorporated, using the pre-existing wood, to connect the TV room to the other rooms.

The living room includes two living areas, a dining room, a new fireplace and a connection to the new office, an old intimate room, which opens onto the back garden.

Thompson Hess House
Thompson Hess House
Thompson Hess House
Thompson Hess House

The pergola with bench, an important architectural element of the house and very characteristic of Rodolpho Ortenblad’s projects, had been removed and thanks to old photos it was possible to be redone to look exactly as the original project.

Thompson Hess House
Thompson Hess House
Thompson Hess House
Thompson Hess House

Much of the original materials of the house were found out of character; the fulget of the closed pillars, ceilings and wooden panels and frames painted in white were restored.

The stone floor was also restored and a new wooden floor has been suggested for the ground as well as the upper floors.

New bricks painted in white were incorporated into some sections of the facade where there was a beige litho ceramic that was deteriorating.

Kitchen, laundry and bathrooms were completely redone, but the materials and colors used refer to the original palette of the house, such as beige limestone and wood.

Thompson Hess House

The house was awarded the São Paulo Salon of Modern Art in the 1960s and it was published in the book “Residências em São Paulo 1947-1975” by Marlene Acayaba. After the renovation it still maintains its modern characteristics, however, the structure has adapted to the demands of a contemporary family.

Thompson Hess House
Photos by Fran Parente