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SCHENKAR LUXURY HOMES FEATURED IN
ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST | ITALY

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Guatapé House. Architecture and design: Schenkar Luxury Homes. Producer: Karine Monié. Photo: Venjhamin Reyes, courtesy Schenkar Luxury Homes.
Guatapé House. Architecture and design: Schenkar Luxury Homes. Producer: Karine Monié. Photo: Venjhamin Reyes, courtesy Schenkar Luxury Homes.

A house in the Andes, between uncontaminated nature and sustainable architecture

Few places in the world give the visitor an authentic sense of peace and a lively feeling of wonder. Among these is certainly the splendid region of the Andes , a paradise in Latin America where nature is the true and only protagonist.

Few places in the world give the visitor an authentic sense of peace and a lively feeling of wonder. Among these there is certainly the splendid region of the Andes.
Few places in the world give the visitor an authentic sense of peace and a lively feeling of wonder. Among these there is certainly the splendid region of the Andes.

Less than two hours from Medellín, Guatapé is known as one of the most attractive and colorful cities in Colombia. Famous for the turquoise waters of the Embalse del Peñol and the colorful “zocalos”, or bas-reliefs that adorn the facades of the houses. Among these is the Piedra del Peñol, an impressive monolith that reaches 2135 meters above sea level. The dizzying staircase that reaches up to the sky allows you to admire an uncontaminated panorama of incomparable beauty.

"I decided that this region would be a perfect candidate to showcase our capabilities in a logistically remote area. I felt the need to promote geotechnical techniques that prevented soil erosion problems, while creating a sustainable housing product that exploited the environment and employed local professionals", explains the designer.
“I decided that this region would be a perfect candidate to showcase our capabilities in a logistically remote area. I felt the need to promote geotechnical techniques that prevented soil erosion problems, while creating a sustainable housing product that exploited the environment and employed local professionals”, explains the designer.

A pearl in the Andes

Alex Schenkar of Schenkar Luxury Homes created an interesting project precisely in this location in the Andes: “I was directed to Guatapé by local friends and I spent a lot of time in the city and in the Embalse region,” says Alex, who designed and built numerous projects over the last 18 years. “I decided that this region would be a perfect candidate to showcase our capabilities in a logistically remote area. I saw the need to promote geotechnical techniques that prevented soil erosion problems, while creating a sustainable housing product that took advantage of the environment and employed local professionals.”

Located at the top of a hill, the house sits on a cliff with a 55-degree slope and offers panoramic views of a breathtaking landscape.
Located at the top of a hill, the house sits on a cliff with a 55-degree slope and offers panoramic views of a breathtaking landscape.

Located at the top of a hill, the house sits on a cliff with a 55-degree slope and offers panoramic views of a breathtaking landscape. The first floor is open plan with 180-degree views of the lake and El Peñol rock. Each room has a private on-suite bathroom and all rooms and floors enjoy views of the lake and Andean mountains. The house, thanks to a particular angle, allows you to admire both the sunrise and the sunset on the same day.

The first floor is open plan with 180 degree views of the lake and El Peñol rock. Each room has a private on-suite bathroom and all rooms and floors enjoy views of the lake and Andean mountains.
The first floor is open plan with 180 degree views of the lake and El Peñol rock. Each room has a private on-suite bathroom and all rooms and floors enjoy views of the lake and Andean mountains.

Innovation and sustainability

For this house in the Andes, the architecture is based on innovative construction technologies, in particular the use of steel, glass, and concrete, while the design, development, and construction required over three years of work. And not everything was easy to achieve. For this project, which can be replicated anywhere else in the world, the biggest challenge was the inaccessibility of the lot, the steep topography, and the complicated logistics: “That’s how it happened. On the other hand, we couldn’t use traditional machines for excavation, pouring concrete or drilling”, recalls Alex Schenkar. “Everything had to be done by hand.”

For this house in the Andes, the architecture is based on innovative construction technologies, in particular the use of steel, glass and concrete, while the design, development and construction required over three years of work.
For this house in the Andes, the architecture is based on innovative construction technologies, in particular the use of steel, glass and concrete, while the design, development and construction required over three years of work.

The key word is sustainability: the house is completely insulated to manage heat loss during the seasons and has solar panels for a human-scale power supply. Rainwater is collected in cisterns and reused for irrigation and carbon filtered for domestic drinking water. The roof was designed with recycled metal panels and the internal water is heated with a high efficiency boiler to obtain water on demand with minimal waste. Furthermore, the team decided to supply steel, concrete and other materials for road construction and to further expand the knowledge and understanding of local professionals on advanced geotechnical stability and safe house construction techniques.

The key word is sustainability: the house is completely insulated to manage heat loss during the seasons and has solar panels for a human-scale power supply.
The key word is sustainability: the house is completely insulated to manage heat loss during the seasons and has solar panels for a human-scale power supply.

Personalization and respect for the environment

All this in the total customization of the environments: “All our homes are a luxury product and must satisfy certain architectural criteria, such as the layout of the spaces and the interior concept desired by the customers,” continues Alex Schenkar. “The price of each housing unit is also based on some important characteristics, such as the location, topography, style, and finishes chosen.”

Rainwater is collected in cisterns and reused for irrigation and carbon filtered for domestic drinking water. The roof was designed with recycled metal panels and the internal water is heated with a high efficiency boiler to obtain water on demand with minimal waste.
Rainwater is collected in cisterns and reused for irrigation and carbon filtered for domestic drinking water. The roof was designed with recycled metal panels and the internal water is heated with a high efficiency boiler to obtain water on demand with minimal waste.

The house, 372 m2 on 2 levels, with 5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, office, cinema room, large kitchen, living room, as well as 186 m2 of terraces and outdoor spaces, is perfectly inserted into the environment that hosts it: “I imagined my project in total balance with the land, in harmony with the lake. The architectural style and location of the house create a magnificent accent on the surrounding topography,” Alex points out. And even the choices relating to the design, including the color palette, seem to prove him right.

The choice of colors is careful and thoughtful: white, black gray accentuated by wooden panels, gray cabinets and white marble worktops. The furnishings were custom made in Bogota with special fabrics and colors.
The choice of colors is careful and thoughtful: white, black gray accentuated by wooden panels, gray cabinets and white marble worktops. The furnishings were custom made in Bogota with special fabrics and colors.

A modernist palette

The choice of colors is careful and thoughtful: white , black, and gray accentuated by wooden panels, gray cabinets, and white marble worktops. The furnishings were custom-made in Bogota with special fabrics and colors. The house has tailor-made natural stone floors from Colombian quarries, as well as marble and stones imported from Italy. The custom-made cabinets and plumbing fixtures are German. The lighting and linen are also of European origin.

The house has tailor-made natural stone floors from Colombian quarries, as well as marble and stones imported from Italy.
The house has tailor-made natural stone floors from Colombian quarries, as well as marble and stones imported from Italy.

What is surprising about this home is its versatility and ability to blend perfectly with the environment. Nature and architecture come together in a magical accord. Like when darkness falls on the Piedra del Peñol and the starry vault seems painted by the skilled hand of an artist. Perhaps the same one who created the starry ceiling of the multimedia room, a brilliant touch that transforms the room into a fairy-tale environment under the stars, confusing reality and fantasy.