Casa Terracota, a meeting point between art, architecture and earth.
Whoever approaches Casa Terracota inevitably feels attracted and intrigued by its unconventional shapes, colors and textures, as well as its volume and built areas.
Facing the construction, questions begin to arise: What is this place? What function does it fulfill? Who does it belong to? How will it feel like to be inside or even live there?
Besides being the largest pottery in the world, Casa Terracota–located in the Colombian town of Villa de Leyva (Boyacá)–is a unique place where architecture and design merge, just as other types of arts and crafts do. Since its origin and concept, Colombian architect Octavio Mendoza Morales has sought to promote an alternative and harmonious lifestyle, both for the individual and the community, plus their surrounding environment.
Casa Terracota is the symbol of Octavio Mendoza Morales’ life project: a construction project that, relying on the four elements (earth, air, water and fire), turns earth into habitable architecture.
Mendoza Morales suggests that the act of “inhabiting” Casa Terracota, involves the occupation of its interior spaces as well as relating to its outside and nearby exterior zones. Therefore, through its construction system and corresponding philosophy, Casa Terracota hosts innovative dynamics that transform not only processes of design and construction, but also its very own concept of what “occupating it” means–all of the former while intending to strengthen bonds between its spaces and whoever are its resident(s).
In that sense, Casa Terracota is the symbol of Octavio Mendoza Morales’ life project: a construction project that, relying on the four elements (earth, air, water and fire), turns earth into habitable architecture. When applied, such elements also produce functional objects that originate from the house’s cooking process, which are transformed into useful pieces of pottery that can be used as part of its resident’s daily life.
Casa Terracota is an endless project, due to the endless possibilities offered by the creative processes that take place there. There is always something new to offer.
Casa Terracota is a space for architectural and artistic experimentation. Alternative proposals surge–both for the use and decoration of spaces–all friendly with the environment.
The structure collects and promotes the practice of different arts and crafts, as languages and life paths of all human beings. Through time, Casa Terracota has become a venue for workshops and/or private visits; a place where the lessons shared include what Mendoza Morales has learned from this process that by now has taken him twenty years.
Casa Terracota’s story comes from the Architect’s childhood. Since boyhood, Octavio Mendoza Morales saw how the earth was converted into various construction systems, such as “tapia pisada” (rammed earth), adobe, bahareque, bricks or blocks. Years later, as a professional, he noticed how the cities were built by millions of baked bricks, how the consumption chains forced to acquire that raw material at high prices, and how the final design that was given to that material, restricted the use and life that took place within such spaces.
After reflecting on these issues for several years, Mendoza Morales concluded that other ways of relating to spaces and the materials used to build them should exist; if not, then it was his call to create them. Therefore, he consequently decided to give a spin to those techniques by using the earth element in order to create, build and produce everything necessary to live in–achieving not only protection and a place for rest, but also various types of recreation.
Casa Terracota in Present Tense
The construction began in 1999 and it can be said that its “mother structure” was completed in 2016. However, Casa Terracota is an endless project, because the possibilities offered by the creative processes that take place here are infinite and it will always have something new to offer.
Since its original conception, Casa Terracota is a meeting point created and open to all artistic, artisanal and/or human manifestations. That is exactly why it will continue to grow, develop, teach and learn. Casa Terracota is a project that is both timeless and of global relevance.
Monday to Sunday
8:30am to 5:30pm
Entry Casa Terracota
Adults: COP $15.000
Children up to 12 years of age: COP $8.000