Colombian architecture firm PAE has completed a small open-air house on the lush hillside of Anapoima, Colombia. Situated in an existing mango grove, the residence known as Casa Caoba has a minimalist design that blends in with the lush outdoors. Standing 900 meters (2,953 feet) above sea level, the house is built on a stone foundation that complements the steep topography of the site.
Casa Caoba consists of five parallel walls that extend outwards, framing the residence’s four living units. Additionally, the architects incorporated open-air elements into the structure, with open walls that help promote passive airflow throughout the house. To achieve this, the floor plan of Casa Caoba minimizes the layout of the longitudinal walls and incorporates openings in the transverse walls.
By seamlessly blending the residence with the surrounding landscape, the architects created a space that is truly in harmony with its surroundings. The microclimate created by the open-air design is also noteworthy. The design channels cold air from the house’s mountainous area – providing natural cooling – while the walls act as thermal mass, regulating the internal temperature. This feature is especially important in this part of the world, which is known for high temperatures year-round.
Casa Caoba is characterized by the use of locally sourced stone, wood and bamboo, which are readily available in the region. The entire project is decorated with bamboo ceilings, pine wood for teak furniture and carpentry using local craftsmanship. The small house has a cohesive design language, contrasted by the use of stone and concrete materials, while the use of wood adds a cozy and welcoming feel to the interior.
Through the interior of the house, Casa Caoba features an open-air minimalist kitchen and dining area, which also serves as the entrance to the house. The dining area adjoins the central module or the leisure terrace with plunge pool and outdoor lounge. This central module serves as a space for reflection and reconnection with nature. To create this atmosphere, the south sides of the modules are left uncovered, allowing natural light to filter in throughout the day, while the north sides are adorned with native vegetation.
The next part of the home features a spacious master bedroom with raised bed for ample hidden storage below. The bedroom adjoins the dramatic open-air bathroom with concrete floors, open-air bath with privacy curtain, concrete basin with floating mirror and oversized stone walled shower.
Casa Caoba represents a new era of sustainable and unconventional architecture that prioritizes co-existence with nature without the need for grandiose large-scale structures. The use of natural ventilation and passive cooling techniques further emphasizes the innovative ecological design and functionality of the home. The result is a beautiful little home that blends seamlessly with the surrounding ecosystem without sacrificing comfort or style.