Uniting wildness and artifice – Chontay House, Peru

This week we’ve decided to look at one of our favourite new buildings – Chontay House in Peru.

How do you create a home that is safe, functional and beautiful to boot, while working with the natural features of the landscape?
It’s a big ask, but Marina Vella has truly delivered the goods with the fabulous Chontay House.

The biggest challenge faced by Vella was the location. The rugged topography was spectacular, but not conducive to the building of firm foundations! A two-part design was settled upon to accommodate the lie of the land.

The house also had to look the part, so for Chontay House Marina Vella opted to work with a local builder versed in traditional techniques, and a range of materials including local stone, eucalyptus cane, ‘Carrizo’ (reed grass), recycled wood and earth-toned adobe, to allow the structure to blend with its environment.


Glazing cleverly completes the look, creating a tunnel of light through the house and reflecting the scenery back on to itself, creatively camouflaging the buildings.

Then, a stunning yet scary design detail provides the access to the rooftop terrace – this probably wouldn’t be approved by British Building Standards, but the narrow, handrail-free steps really look the part!



All in all, Chontay House is an amazing example of good design and environmental sympathy. We love this place, and dream of having something similar, when we grow up!

Photography: Gonzalo Cáceres Dancuart




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