Not far from Bogotá, Colombia, in the picturesque town of Villeta, a fascinating modern home rises to adorn the natural landscape. Designed by Arquitectura en Estudio and Natalia Heredia, the modern country home simply known as Casa 7A uses sustainable features like cross-ventilation, a recycling rain water system and a solar panel heating system for the pool. Rising more than 3,000 feet above sea level on a steep plot of land that unfolds down to the “El Cojo” stream in the valley, the modern country home spreads over 5,920 square feet. Spacious and bright, the home’s floor plan allows for the house to be completely closed off when not in use. Open towards the mountains on one side and a succession of patios on the other, the modern country home relates to its surroundings via voids and volumes. The entrance was designed to be as private as possible, hence the intentionally low and narrow block. This helps surprise the viewer with stunning views once the threshold is left behind.
The site-specific residential construction has two main elements that led to its visual appeal: “The roof, which protects from the elements, but at the same time serves as a tool to relate directly to the surroundings. The roof, clean and horizontal, frames the landscape and protects from sun and rain, while it dilutes the limits between the inside and the outside, between the natural and the man-made. The patio, the space that allows us to bring nature into architecture, helps us gain control over the natural elements which would otherwise be alien. The patio generates an intimate scale generating close relations and sensations, in contrast to the long views provided by the mountains.” Open social areas, three bedrooms, a studio space, service area, terrace and swimming pool were all included in the brief, so architects turned the owner’s wishes into concrete reality. With ocre tinted in situ concrete and teak as the main materials, the modern country home photographed by David Uribe was also built using prefabricated elements to enclose the patio.
Here is how the architects describe their work: “The social areas appear as a unique space, open towards the mountains on one side and to the entrance patio on the other. The character of this space is defined, simultaneously, by a second patio, framed by a void in the roof. Centered in this patio lives an Acacia, whose foliage will protect from the sun, while it marks the meeting point of the two main axes of the house (entrance – swimming pool & kitchen – rooms). It is the heart of the house. At the east, around the dining area, we find the kitchen and service areas that appear as a lower block, subtly inserted under the main roof. The opposite wing houses the private areas for the rooms, which face the mountains and are articulated by a third patio that, proposing a completely different character, is defined by a permeable wall made in prefabricated concrete blocks and an exhuberant native garden The facade brings an essential question to the nature of the project: how to generate completely open spaces that can be closed off when not in use? For all the areas of the house (private and social), timber screen panels were designed in order for them to slide or pivot and allow for closing off or opening up the space 100%.” All these details can lead to only one thing: “Wishing you were here”, am I right?