Casa 7A by Arquitectura en Estudio & Natalia Heredia

Casa 7A is a private residence designed jointly by Arquitectura en Estudio & Natalia Heredia.


Casa 7A by Arquitectura en Estudio & Natalia Heredia (2)

Casa 7A by Arquitectura en Estudio & Natalia Heredia (3)

Casa 7A by Arquitectura en Estudio & Natalia Heredia (4)

Casa 7A by Arquitectura en Estudio & Natalia Heredia (5)

Casa 7A by Arquitectura en Estudio & Natalia Heredia (6)

Casa 7A by Arquitectura en Estudio & Natalia Heredia (7)

Casa 7A by Arquitectura en Estudio & Natalia Heredia (8)

Casa 7A by Arquitectura en Estudio & Natalia Heredia (9)

Casa 7A by Arquitectura en Estudio & Natalia Heredia (10)

Casa 7A by Arquitectura en Estudio & Natalia Heredia (11)

Casa 7A by Arquitectura en Estudio & Natalia Heredia (14)

Casa 7A by Arquitectura en Estudio & Natalia Heredia (15)

Casa 7A by Arquitectura en Estudio & Natalia Heredia (16)

Casa 7A by Arquitectura en Estudio & Natalia Heredia (17)

Casa 7A by Arquitectura en Estudio & Natalia Heredia (18)

Casa 7A by Arquitectura en Estudio & Natalia Heredia (19)

Casa 7A by Arquitectura en Estudio & Natalia Heredia (20)

Casa 7A by Arquitectura en Estudio & Natalia Heredia (21)

Casa 7A by Arquitectura en Estudio & Natalia Heredia (22)

Casa 7A by Arquitectura en Estudio & Natalia Heredia (23)

Casa 7A by Arquitectura en Estudio & Natalia Heredia:

“The challenge was to design a country house in the surroundings of the town of Villeta (Colombia), 1.5 hours to the west of Bogotá; at 967 meters (3,173 feet) above sea level, with a predominantly hot and dry weather all year round. The site’s constraints were very clear; a very steep land that starts at the top of a hill going all the way down to the stream “El Cojo”. The brief asked for a built area of 550m2 (5,920ft2), including 3 rooms, studio, service and social areas, a terrace and a swimming pool, all this under one essential demand: the house must be able to be completely closed whenever it’s not in use.

The place defines completely the conception of the project. We start from two basic elements in architecture:
The roof, which protects from the elements, but at the same time serves as a tool to relate directly to the surroundings. The roof, clean and horizontal, frames the landscape and protects from sun and rain, while it dilutes the limits between the inside and the outside, between the natural and the man-made.

The patio, the space that allows us to bring nature into architecture, helps us gain control over the natural elements which would otherwise be alien. The patio generates an intimate scale generating close relations and sensations, in contrast to the long views provided by the mountains.

Spatially, the house is organized through a succession of voids and blocks that live under the roof, which is open towards the mountains on one side and towards a series of patios on the other. This double spatial relation (patio-roof-mountains) (near-far) generates diversity and richness within the different spaces of the house, providing the opportunity for different use dynamics at different times of day.

Towards the road, the house shows itself completely closed, providing privacy and generating expectation as to what happens inside. You enter through an intentionally low and narrow block, which enriches the expectation; crossing the threshold, the preception changes; the space opening up through a patio that frames the uninterrupted view of the mountains. From the entrance, the platform that holds the social areas seems to float between the water feature at the entrance and the swimming pool; once again allowing the natural elements to dominate the space

The social areas appear as a unique space, open towards the mountains on one side and to the entrance patio on the other. The character of this space is defined, simultaneously, by a second patio, framed by a void in the roof. Centered in this patio lives an Acacia, whose foliage will protect from the sun, while it marks the meeting point of the two main axes of the house (entrance – swimming pool & kitchen – rooms). It is the heart of the house.

At the east, around the dining area, we find the kitchen and service areas that appear as a lower block, subtly inserted under the main roof.

The opposite wing houses the private areas for the rooms, which face the mountains and are articulated by a third patio that, proposing a completely different character, is defined by a permeable wall made in prefabricated concrete blocks and an exhuberant native garden The facade brings an essential question to the nature of the project: how to generate completely open spaces that can be closed off when not in use? For all the areas of the house (private and social), timber screen panels were designed in order for them to slide or pivot and allow for closing off or opening up the space 100%.

The house is oriented north-south, protecting the long/open facades from the sun while taking advantage of the beautiful views towards the mountains and the stream. This also allows for the swimming pool and terrace areas to have permanent exposure to the sun, morning and afternoon, without being interrupted by the shadow of the house.

The project uses noble materials, expresses its materiality, construction process and natural composition. The predominant use of ocre tinted in situ concrete and teak generates an array of textures, colours and shadows that change with sunlight. All the textures are defined by 2 modules, 5 and 10 cms (2 and 4 in), expressed in all the elements, from the timber formwork for the concrete to the teak elements in the wooden panels all the way through to the prefabricated elements that enclose the patio.

The walls and slabs are built by using in situ concrete, and the ocre tone achieved by using a mix of white cement and sand from Ambalema; the formwork was built with Tabebuia timber. The other predominant material is teak (from sustainable forests), used indistictively as facade, furniture or floor finish. The floors, aiming to keep uniformity with the tone of the roof, are mostly built in sandstone.

The finish for the swimming pool was achieved by generating a pattern inspired in the surrounding forest’s blue-green colours, using 20x20cm (8x8in) tiles, de-toned and hand painted.

The main sustainibity strategy comes from the spatial distribution and orientation of the project; the north-south bar scheme minimizes direct solar gain on the facades while it allows cross ventilation to all the areas (private and social), minimizing the need for mechanical ventilation. For further insulation, the flat roof was built using a ventilated waffle slab and un upper white gravel finish.

The project recycles rain water for vegetation and has a solar panel heating system for the water in the swimming pool. Construction materials are mostly local and natural (stone, renewable timber and concrete) and the construction was developed using local workforce.”



DIY Planter Umbrella Stand

Strong wind is no friend to most patio umbrellas, but it would take a hurricane to budge this setup.

The umbrella rises from a sleeve centered in a flowerpot that’s filled with three layers of material: a bottom layer of lava rock to hold the sleeve in place, a center layer of concrete for extra rigidity, and a top layer of planting mix. When there’s no need for shade, just lift out the umbrella — the plants should mask the sleeve.

Choose any large pot and umbrella that match your garden decor and coordinate with each other.

The container should be broad-based for stability and at least 15 inches tall (ours is 24 inches) and 20 inches in diameter so there’s room for the three layers.

Use 1½-inch ABS (a black plastic vent) pipe from a home improvement store for the sleeve; make sure the umbrella pole will slip inside it easily.

The cost will vary depending on the umbrella, pot, and plants you choose, but it shouldn’t exceed $200.


  • Measuring tape
  • Saw
  • Shovel and hoe
  • Garden hose
  • Wheelbarrow
  • 2 levels
  • Dolly


  • Flowerpot (at least 15 in. tall, with drainage)
  • 3-ft. length 1 1/2-in. ABS pipe
  • 1 square ft. nylon or aluminum screen
  • 1 cubic ft. crushed lava stone
  • 1 50-lb. bag fence-post concrete
  • 3-ft. length 3/4-in. dowel
  • Planting mix and plants
  • Patio umbrella

How to build your umbrella stand

  1. Measure depth of pot, and cut pipe to extend 8 inches above top.
  2. Cover drainage holes in pot with screening. Pour in about 1 inch of lava stone and work one end of the pipe into it, centering pipe vertically in the pot. Pour or shovel in remaining lava stone around pipe to hold it in place.
  3. Use water from hose to mix concrete in wheelbarrow according to directions on the bag. Shovel 2 to 3 inches of concrete in over lava stone, using hoe to create a slight slope away from pipe.
  4. While concrete is still wet, use levels to check that pot is horizontal and pipe is vertical; also hose out wheelbarrow.
  5. Cut dowel to six 6-inch lengths and push them vertically into wet concrete at equally spaced intervals around pipe to create drainage holes. Note: Be sure to wiggle the dowels around when the concrete is wet so they’ll be easier to remove when it hardens.
  6. Let dry overnight; pull dowels out. Use a dolly to move pot to final location before filling with potting mix, adding plants, and sliding in umbrella. If it is loose, add wood shims around pole to keep it vertical.





Michael Green’s Dream

“Frankly, we aren’t breaking a sweat. It’s only public perception and emotion trumping science that stalls us from moving higher”, says Michael Green an Architect and the designer of the 30m Wood Innovation and Design Centre in Prince George British Columbia who had their topping-out ceremony last March 22, 2014.

Green proposed a 20-storey (60 meter) structure several years ago that is made from cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels – sheets are made from cheap, sustainable softwood that are glued or pinned together in precise layers. It is believed that the raw materials itself might be weak and of variable quality, however, the panels can be engineered to be virtually identical and even stronger than concrete, they also resist fire well, charring at their surface instead of catching alight like the lumber used in most American homes.


The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced last March 2014 a $2M competition to demonstrate the viability of new generation of wooden “ply scrapers”. It is more than 15 years now that America, the birthplace of skyscraper, was the last home of the world’s tallest building. On the other hand, they may lack the highest high-rise made from traditional steel and concrete but America has its bragging rights in being the world’s tallest skyscraper made from wood.

Tom Vilsack, America’s Secretary of Agriculture, said that the challenge for them is to catch up and they will be going to do that. The USDA will fund an industry and will provide technical support to architects, and pursue other federal departments to adopt the new technologies.

“Cross-laminated timber can be used for emergency shelters, to quickly rebuild communities after hurricanes or floods, and by the Department of Defence to rebuild barracks. There’s even infrastructure that could be built with this,” Vilsack.


World Wood Day 2014

World Wood Day is known to be a cultural event to increase significant awareness on how wood plays an important role for a sustainable future that is World Wood Day annually celebrated every 21st of March and has launched its inaugural celebration in 2013. Concurrently, WWD is observed on the same day as the “International Day of Forest” which was officially recognized by the United Nations General Assembly in 2013. The concept behind World Wood Day was first advocated in 2009 by International Wood Culture Society along with partners and friends.

2013 World Wood Day celebrated their first year with the theme “A Cultural Approach to Achieve Wood is Good”, and inaugurated its annual celebration on March 21st in Tanzania with a series of a special designed events after years of preparation. The Local Woodcarving Competition, African Wood Carving Show, International Woodcarving Show and Woodturning show were the four activities during 2013 WWD.

There are also fun activities for local children such as drawing competition to illustrate their appreciation for wood with their imagination, skill and talent. A wood culture spot tour around Tanzania is also a part of the itinerary as well as tree planting activities that serve as the emblem of International Day of Forest and World Wood Day.

2014 World Wood Day was celebrated last March 21st to March 25th with a theme “Wood in a Changing Culture” that promoted feast of arts, culture and knowledge, fun and recreation, and caring and support in a week-long celebration which was held at Xianyou Country, Fujian Province of China.

Under the context of globalization, the world has been greatly affected by a move towards economic development, urbanization and increasing consumption of natural resources. Ecological environments have been altered over the course of time as changing cultural values have overridden traditional culture and influenced people’s mindsets and behaviors. Blending of the new and the traditional is not the only result. Having been interpreted differently across the world, norms and practices also greatly influence traditions, values and cultures. The value and use of wood, for instance, have also changed in response to the changing world. Wood, therefore, as an eco-friendly and renewable biomaterial, has become increasingly crucial to sustainable living.”

The event started with an opening ceremony followed by a Wood Education and Symposium. There were certain competitions such as Children Drawing Competition, Timber Structure Houses Design, 3rd Chinese Vocational & College Student Carpentry Competition and an International Furniture-Making Event. There were also activities such as International Artists’ Collaborative Wood Sculpture Exhibition: Harmony, Woodcarving Exhibition: “Wood: Art, Joy and Culture”, Woodcarving Show: “Homeland”, Woodturning Demonstration, Folk Arts Show and Exhibition, Live Sketches Exhibition and Wooden Music Fair. For the last two days, they had a Awarding & Closing Ceremony and Tree Planting and finally a Wood Culture Tour.

World Wood Day also encourages people from all over the world to join and promote wood by providing on line activities. You check out these activities at



2014 US Wood Design Award

Wood Works, an initiative of the Wood Products Council has announced the winners of its 2014 National Wood Design Awards recognizing the outstanding projects that bring to life wood’s natural beauty and versatility in building design. Projects have been selected from over 140 submissions for demonstrating ingenuity in design or engineering.

By: Karissa Rosenfield


Institutional Wood Design: James and Anne Robinson Nature Center in Columbia, MD / GWWO, Inc. /Architects

James and Anne Robinson Nature Center / GWWO, Inc./Architects © Paul Burk Photography

Wood School Design: Cascades Academy of Central Oregon in Tumalo, OR / Hennebery Eddy Architects

Cascades Academy of Central Oregon Campus / Hennebery Eddy Architects © Josh Partee

Commercial Wood Design: Federal Center South – Building 1202 in Seattle, WA / ZGF Architects

Federal Center South Building 1202 / ZGF Architects © Benjamin Benschneider

Beauty of Wood: Reed College Performing Arts Building in Portland, OR / Architect – Opsis Architecture

Reed College Performing Arts Building / Opsis Architecture © Christian Columbres Photography

Multi‐Story Wood Design: Bullitt Center in Seattle, WA / The Miller Hull Partnership

Bullitt Center / The Miller Hull Partnership

Green Building with Wood: Biomass Heating Plant, Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, CT / Centerbook Architects and Planners 

Hotchkiss Biomass Power Plant / Centerbrook Architects and Planners © David Sundberg/Esto

Traditional Use of Wood: Muckleshoot Smokehouse in Auburn, WA / Mahlum

Muckleshoot Smokehouse / Mahlum; Courtesy of

Innovative Wood Engineering: Promega Feynman Center, “The Crossroads” in Madison, WA / Uihlein‐Wilson Architects

Promega Feynman Center, “The Crossroads” / Uihlein‐Wilson Architects, Inc. © Aitor Sanchez/EwingCole

Jury’s Choice Award: Habiframe, Inc. Tornado Storm Shelter in Memphis, TN / Habiframe

The 2014 Regional Wood Design Award Winners are…

Manhattan Fire House #3 in Manhattan, KS / Action Pact Design 

Manhattan Fire House #3 / Action Pact Design © Nicholas Whitney, Action Pact Design

Advanced Water Purification Facility in Oxnard, CA / Mainstreet Architects + Planners 

Advanced Water Purification Facility / Mainstreet Architects + Planners, Inc. © Miguel E. Cabezas, Ntwali Migabo

GSA Office Building in Albuquerque, NM / Page Southerland Page

GSA Office Building / Page Southerland Page © Patrick Coulie Photography

YMCA Pavilion at Camp Harrison in Boomer, NC / C design 

YMCA Pavilion at Camp Harrison / C design Inc. © Tim Buchman 2013



Clever Outdoor Living Space



Landscape design inspiration that comes “out from the blue” is the specialty of Melbourne’s OFTB Landscape & Pool Design; this pool and outdoor space rendering at Berwick is an example of inspired design on more than one level. The blend of indoor and outdoor living here makes the most of a long, narrow space and a high elevation: freeform stone walls surround a luxurious porcelain tiled lap pool and spa, with a complete outdoor “retreat” that’s inviting by day and absolutely stunning by night. Notice that lovely red glow in the lights? Look more closely and you’ll see that that red comes from a shining surface on cabinetry that cleverly hides kitchenette appliances: a built-in barbecue, sink, and fridge are ready to help serve up food for a crowd, then recess behind smooth doors when not in use.