Schenkar Shifts the Paradigm for Custom Sustainable Homes


Meandering steps set against emerald green sew circulation into the Andes mountains as each platform moves guests from turquoise waters to a monolithic, modernist structure situated atop the cliff some 6,200 feet above sea level in Guatapé, Colombia. On the 1.5 acre swath of private shoreline overlooking this fresh-water reservoir is a 3,500-square-foot structure and the latest addition to Seattle-based Schenkar Luxury Homes’ international portfolio, realized in collaboration with Bogota-based GA Arquitectura y Construcción. Comprising 5 bedrooms, 4 baths, a media room, an office, and over 2,000 square feet of outdoor deck, the residence commands a nearly panoramic view of its site in a showcase of customization that marries sustainability with engineering.

Modern two-story house with large windows and flat roofs, situated by a lake surrounded by a landscaped garden and clear skies.

Modern two-story building with large windows, curved and angular white walls, and a stone pathway under a clear blue sky.

Modern building entrance with glass doors framed by wooden panels and steel beams, overlooking a coastal landscape.

Open door of a modern house with clear glass walls, showcasing an interior floating wooden staircase and a view of lush greenery outside.

Design, development, and construction of this project took roughly 3.5 years and 9 phases of meticulous edits, from initial exploration and ideation to the grand opening, to reach completion. Unable to use traditional machines to excavate, pour concrete, or drill pilings, due to the location’s inaccessibility and steep topography, Schenkar opted to employ muscle and invest in hand craft. Floor plates, ceiling surfaces, and glass walls link the interior and exterior as concrete, steel, Colombian stone, and Italian marble meld with a material palette of white, black, and gray tones accented throughout with warmer wood paneling. The linens and furniture are also custom made and locally sourced from Bogota with special fabrics and select hues that speak to the region’s colorful architecture.

Modern bathroom vanity featuring a marble countertop, arched mirror, gold faucet, and sconce lights, decorated with red and purple flowers.

Modern kitchen with a marble backsplash, dark cabinetry, a wooden dining table, chairs, and decorative plants, illuminated by natural light and stylish ceiling lights.

Modern dining room with a black shelving unit, a gold and glass dining table, and four beige chairs, overlooking a staircase.

Modern kitchen and dining area with large windows overlooking a scenic view, featuring a sleek design with marble accents and pendant lighting.

A modern living room with large windows overlooking a scenic lake and hills, featuring a plush chair, a wooden side table, and potted plants.

Schenkar’s capacity for aesthetic and spatial customization is matched by its robust solutions to address sustainability with ease in a triumph for normalizing, nay, prioritizing this consideration within the new build paradigm. The dwelling is outfitted with a variety of hi- and low-tech features to boast a competitive level of efficiency and eco-empathy. It is fully insulated to manage heat loss appropriately, outfitted with solar panels to take advantage of a natural power source, and incorporates recycled materials into portions of the building itself. Noteworthy still is the rainwater management system that collects runoff in cisterns to be redirected for irrigation as well as filtered for potable water. Sourcing of fixtures from sanitaryware to lighting are even considered to reduce the carbon footprint and environmental expense of construction.

Modern dining room with large windows overlooking a lake, featuring a wooden table, light-colored chairs, and a matching sofa set.

Modern living room with large windows overlooking a lake, featuring a gray sectional sofa, two beige armchairs, and a wooden coffee table.

Modern living room interior with large windows showcasing a scenic lake view, featuring a plush beige armchair and a cozy throw blanket near an elegant coffee table.

It would be remiss to conflate Schenkar’s process with that of prefabrication, which is typically used for high volume production with little accommodations for customization to taste. “Our custom homes are specific to our exact clients’ specifications, style, and functionality. We look at the environment in which the house is located as sustainability can take on many forms,” says Alex Schenkar, Principal of Schenkar Construction behind the luxury homes. “We employ thousands of local trade professionals and host regular training clinics for many of the companies in our regions. We also provide raw materials such as steel and concrete to build local roads. I specifically lead these training sessions to demonstrate new techniques and different styles of construction that are sensitive to their economics.”

Modern bedroom with a large window overlooking a green landscape, featuring a neatly made bed with grey bedding and a small bedside table with books and flowers.

Modern bathroom featuring a glass shower stall, skylight, floating vanity with dual sinks, and neutral tile decor.

A modern staircase with wooden steps and glass railings in a bright room with large windows and sunlight casting shadows.

Modern living room corner with wooden paneling, a wall-mounted tv, and a minimalist hallway with grey tile flooring.

Modern living room with a large flat screen tv mounted on a wooden slatted wall with built-in shelving and a potted plant.

Modern bedroom with a large bed, wall-mounted tv, wooden slatted wall decor, floating shelves, and a large window.

Modern bathroom interior with marble walls and wooden cabinets, featuring a double vanity, large mirrors, and a walk-in shower.

Luxurious marble bathroom with a glass shower, large windows overlooking a scenic view, and a double vanity.

Luxurious bathroom interior with marble walls, a wooden shower area, and a wide window showcasing a lake view.

Modern office space with a large desk and built-in shelves, overlooking a scenic lake view through floor-to-ceiling windows.

A modern living room with a large sectional sofa in front of floor-to-ceiling windows showcasing a panoramic view of a lush, mountainous landscape.

Modern house on a hillside featuring a large, angular design with glass facades, supported by steel beams, overlooking a lake under a clear sky.

A modern two-story house on a landscaped hill overlooking a large lake, with a private dock extending into the water under a clear blue sky.

Scenic view of a large rock formation by a river with modern, multi-story buildings and lush greenery under a clear blue sky.

To learn more about Schenkar Construction and their customizable, luxury homes, visit schenkarluxuryhomes.com. And to learn more about their Bogota-based collaborator, visit ga-arkitectura.com.

Photography by  Venjhamin Reyes; Production by Karine Monie.



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