In northwestern Columbia, House Kruppa-SKL by Medellín architecture firm Câpâ integrates 26-foot-tall gabled sections—one for each family member—to form a cascading pattern down the sloped site.
For nomadic software executive Serge Kruppa, home was typically wherever he could hook up to high-speed Internet and a talented team of developers. Since graduating college in Geneva in 1992, the Swiss-born Brit has lived all over the world, doing stints in San Francisco, Budapest, and Mexico City, among other places. But each failed to seduce him enough to put down roots.
Colombia, on the other hand, has intrigued him from the first time he visited the country with his mother, in 1999. He fell in love with the spectacular mountain vistas—reminiscent of the Alps of his childhood—and in 2008, he persuaded an executive at the San Francisco–based tech company where he was working to let him start an office in Medellín.
Soon after arriving, he met his future wife, graphic designer Luisa Alzate, a Paisa, as the locals from the Colombian region of Antioquia are known. Their son, Santiago, followed in 2010 and, with his arrival, plans for a family home.
The perfect site presented itself during a driving lesson. ("I learned to drive when I was forty-four," Serge confesses.) While practicing in a quiet, hillside community, Serge saw an empty lot with gorgeous views, thanks to its altitude of 8,500 feet. Serge and Luisa looked into it and learned that the neighborhood was free of the architectural prescriptions imposed in other nearby developments.
After a deep dive into different styles of design—including trips to visit Joseph Eichler homes in California and Tadao Ando’s work in Japan—the couple found themselves wanting to create an example of what philosopher Alain de Botton calls an "architecture of happiness"—"lots of natural light, interesting connected volumes, and open visual perspectives," says Serge—with a low carbon footprint.
"I wanted our house to bring us joy, but also be gentle to the environment."
—Serge Kruppa, resident
See the full story on Dwell.com: In the Hills of Columbia, This Zigzagging House Provides a Family With Privacy and Connection