Considered architectural elements form the hallmarks of this reflective casa in Colombia, making it a minimalist refuge for modern living.
Casa JL by architectural practice Cinco Sólidos sits in the mountainous outskirts of Medellín, a city that has left its dark past behind, reinventing itself with a resurgence of culture, hospitality, architecture, and emerging design.
Medellín-based Cinco Sólidos is one of the multi-disciplinary representatives leading the new wave of architecture emerging out of Colombia, applying a holistic approach to five (cinco) fields of design; architecture, interior design, branding, furniture and project direction. Gaining momentum for their reductive approach to crafting highly refined homes within a Latin American context, the studio have built an impressive portfolio of exclusive residential projects; each one embodying the core of their ‘simplicity and elegance with an edge’ design ethos.
Proving that less is more, Casa JL is a Brutalist-inspired refuge that wholeheartedly embraces this ethos. Composed of two linear structures which overlap to create a ‘V’ each wing is set across two- storeys and recedes into the earth, making the surrounding landscape one of its strongest design influences. As though levitating above ground on columns, the home follows the contours of the sloping valley to cast a modern and minimal silhouette against the tree line. Raw, cast concrete slabs, timber and floor-to-ceiling glass are the prevailing materials used both inside and out to create a cohesive flow while an abundance of greenery easily visible through every vantage point, window and balcony of the home draws the landscape inwards from all angles.
The ground floor structure connects a concealed garage, utility room and storage rooms through a closed corridor that leads to the communal spaces including a generous kitchen, dining room, living area and TV room. Collectively, these spaces each have glass sliding doors that unfold onto the pool area. A terrace, stretching impressively along the expanse of the home, occupies a sunken outdoor living space and is embedded at ground level to ensure it remains unobtrusive to the awe-inspiring vista beyond. A key feature of Casa JL is the dark-lined pool that acts as a natural mirror, creating a changing reflection throughout the day, alongside the angular architecture with organic, colourful views of the hillside.
The upper structure connects the private spaces, including three bedrooms, each one intentionally stripped of any unnecessary elements to accentuate the views. Timber and concrete juxtapose to become a connecting theme between them, while glass sliding doors open out onto a communal balcony.
The considered use of materials and local craftspeople guarantee that the polished concrete floors, rendered walls, and custom timber joinery all sculpt a unifying integrity. Thoughtfully selected furniture has been placed throughout the spaces and a sense of raw materiality in the environment balances beautifully with the warmth and texture of these pieces without detracting from the architecture. A ribboning metal staircase creates an architectural gesture in the form of a sculptural centrepiece, while light-filled atriums and circular glimpses of the sky offer moments of curiosity and contemplation.
Intended as a reflective space for admiring the local landscape, this pavilion-like home rightly claims its belonging to place. Generously designed and impeccably finished, Casa JL is an accolade to Cinco Sólidos who have explored a compelling dialogue in aesthetic tensions. The Brutalist-style silhouette, raw tactility and connectivity to the land allow the true essence of the home’s unique surroundings to come to the fore.
This feature originally appeared in est Magazine Issue 45: Sense of Place.