Casa Terracota is a 5,400 square-foot, two-story home constructed entirely of clay — making it the world’s largest single piece of pottery.
From the stairs and walls to the beds and bathroom, every feature of this unique home is made from clay.
Casa Terracota, located within Villa de Leyva in Colombia, was built over the course of 15 years by architect Octavio Mendoza. Mendoza crafted the home one layer at a time, allowing for each layer bake and harden in the sun before moving onto the next. The structure was built exclusively by hand using only accessible natural resources, which means it does not contain any cement or steel.
Outside, this one-of-a-kind home is surrounded by green farmland and breathtaking views of the mountains. Inside, bright tile mosaics add color to the baked earthy walls which slope and curve like the surrounding hills so that the home blends in with the horizon.
While creating the design of the home, Mendoza aimed to blend the indoor spaces with the surrounding outdoor spaces to create a natural yet livable home.
“I love that the rooftop is a usable and livable part of the home,” explains Paul Drecksler, the founder of Travel is Life and travel blogger who had the opportunity to visit Casa Terracota. “I love being outside, and I feel that most traditional homes waste outdoor space or limit it to a tiny balcony. The architect of Casa Terracota created the roof and outdoor areas as part of the living space, which I really appreciate.”
Inside, the clay cottage also offers some modern features — solar panels for hot water, toilets and sinks covered in colorful mosaic tiles, two floors, and a fully functional kitchen.
“In regards to functionality, I was surprised at the home’s livability. It offered working bathrooms, a kitchen, and electricity — which you’d expect in a ‘normal’ home, but my bar was set low for a livable piece of pottery,” Drecksler says.
The kitchen features furniture, as well as utensils made exclusively from clay. Lighting fixtures are crafted from scrap metal, while mugs are molded from recycled glass.
“Casa Terracota exceeded my expectations in terms of both aesthetics and functionality. Photos and videos don’t do the home justice because it’s difficult to capture a subject and the environment around it at the same time,” Drecksler says. “Casa Terracota is designed to blend in with its environment, so in order to fully appreciate its aesthetics, you’ve got to visit in person.
“I would definitely recommend tourists add Casa Terracota to their bucket list if they visit Villa De Leyva, Colombia if they have an interest in architecture and enjoy visiting unique homes,” Drecksler adds.
This unique home is now also open to the public for tours.
Photos courtesy of Paul Drecksler at TravelisLife.org