On the outskirts of the town Villeta in Colombia, Bogotá-based architecture firm Arquitectura en Estudio (aRE) has completed Casa 23, a holiday home that relies on passive strategies to save energy and stay naturally cool without air conditioning. Strategically set onto a slope for extraordinary views of the mountainous landscape, the contemporary home is adapted to the existing topography to minimize landscape impact. The home is also built of locally and renewably sourced natural materials for a reduced environmental footprint.

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white home with teak screens open across the facade

Designed to adapt to the existing topography, Casa 23 comprises a series of stepped platforms inserted into the mountainside that project toward valley views. The main living spaces, service rooms and the primary bedroom are located on the uppermost volume while the guest bedrooms are set down below. A series of “stairs-patios” links the outward-facing volumes, which are landscaped with lush vegetation and topped with insulating green roofs to blur the boundary between indoors and out.

Related: Ancient Mayan-inspired Casa Merida operates off the grid in Mexico

red sofa in wood-lined living room with one wall open to the outdoors
long wood dining table facing open wall with mountainous views

“Floating above the mountain, this abstract box shows its clean and simple geometry towards the entrance, becoming the main facade of the house,” the architects explained in a project statement. “By separating and stepping these volumes the house allows all the inhabitable spaces to enjoy an uninterrupted view of their surroundings.”

wood patio connected to living room with operable wall open to the outdoors
tan bathroom with double-sinks

Because Casa 23 is primarily used as a holiday retreat, the architects selected materials that were durable and low-maintenance. Board-formed concrete walls and ceilings tinted an earthy ochre color complement natural sandstone floors throughout and give the modern home an inviting character. The operable facade is built of teak wood screens that can be opened and closed for privacy and to modulate access to sun and wind. Deep overhangs also help mitigate unwanted solar gain and protect against the elements. In addition to the use of locally sourced materials, the build of Casa 23 relied on local construction labor.

+ Arquitectura en Estudio

Photography by Llano Fotografía via Arquitectura en Estudio

long, narrow pool connected to a deck