In its three-plus-year existence, Casa JL, designed by Cinco Solidos, has become gradually more and more one with its lush natural surroundings. When the 1,100 square-metre (11,840 sq.ft) house was built up the hill to face the city of Medellín, it was created to respond to and disappearing into the mountainside. With the tropical, rainy climate of the area tempered by the altitude, everything eventually becomes part of the surrounding nature.
Typical to the design language of Cinco Solidos, the beautifully minimalist, mid-century modernist residence lacks any ornamentation or embellishments. There’s nothing that would distract from the principal, two-level structure that in its weight falls nicely somewhere between Frank Lloyd Wright’s hefty Fallingwater and Mies van der Rohe’s weightless Farnsworth.
At Casa JL, the only perceptible distracting feature is the gorgeous, white spiralling staircase but in its sea-shell-like organic form, even it seems more like a piece of nature-created art than a frivolous interference.
The open-plan ground floor includes living, dining and kitchen areas plus a separate lounge/TV room. All of the spaces on the ground floor are open to the building-length terrace and pool. Only full-height retractable glass panels separate the interior from the exterior that together become a large natural living environment.
On the second level, similar glass panels in the three bedrooms open to the full-length balcony. While most of the living areas are open to the views over the city, the garage and the storage and utility rooms are located on the opposite side of the structure and remain totally hidden.
Natural wood, concrete and glass dominate the minimalist and functional interiors with the abundant greenery outside visible at every turn. The minimalist interior lets light become a significant design and architectural feature. As clouds are reflected in the pool outside, shadows fall on the walls through skylights indoors and create ever-changing wall art. A sense of meditative calm characterizes the entire house. It has what we call breathing room; a visually calm environment that encourages deep breathing and relaxation.
Medellín-based Cinco Solidos was founded by Daniel Correa, María José Fernández and Elisa Ortega seven years ago as an interior design studio, but it has since grown to more than 20 people working on residential, office, hotel, retail and hospitality projects.
Medellín is the capital of Colombia’s mountainous Antioquia province, and with 2.6 million residents, it is the second-largest city in Colombia after Bogotá. Tuija Seipell
Images by Nick Wiesner and Anna Dove