Set above a bustling Colombian cityscape, this spectacular home is a modernist haven

Nestled into a lush mountainside overlooking the hazy skyline of Medellín, Casa JL is a sanctuary of epic proportions, designed to connect those residing within to the natural environment, and offer a place of quiet contemplation. 

Conceived by Cinco Sólidos, the residence is an ode to Mid-Century Modernism and speaks to the minimalistic design language for which its architects have become known. Constructed in two V-shaped volumes, the house is long and linear. On the ground floor sits the kitchen, dining area, living room and TV room — all of which open out onto the expansive terrace and dark-coloured pool, which runs the length of the building — while on the upper level, three bedrooms to open onto a long balcony. 

The prolific use of glass in full height, retractable panels ensures that every space of Casa JL is connected to its surrounds in a visceral, unfiltered way. The open plan living space, for instance, can be entirely opened on both sides to remove all barriers between the manufactured and the organic. In many ways, it feels like a transient space, where simple materials like concrete and timber create a pared-back stage on which furniture has been placed sparsely and purposefully. Were it not for the sculptural staircase at the back of the space, it might have run the risk of feeling devoid of personality altogether. And yet, how the architects have created what feels like a warm, liveable home within an unwaveringly modern and stylistically stark structure, is something to be admired. 

Togo Fireside chair by Michel Ducaroy for Ligne Roset.

That said, light has a lot to do with the way these ideas co-exist. Where natural light can flow through Casa JL’s glass panels, the lack of fussy ornamentation or embellishment makes for some incredible moments of contrast. Various areas of the home are brought to life at different points in the day, as bare walls become canvases for dancing reflections of light off the pool.

Ultimately, Casa JL is a space that demands those within to take a deep breath and meditate on the simpler things. Here, on a verdant Colombian mountainside, an exceptional piece of architecture offers respite from the busyness of modern life and serves as a reminder to slow down and take it all in. 

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