There are presently about fifty private houses amongst the forested hills and valleys of PachaMama. These range from designer luxury villas to simple tree-houses, modern bungalows, traditional timber frames and just about everything in between. Creating a permanent home within the village has been a landmark on many of the residents’ personal journeys. The diversity of the buildings that have been created is a reflection of the wide range of individuals who have made PachaMama their home. Each one merges its unique, individual flavour into the wider harmony of the land and community.
Once a spot is chosen, natural factors influencing the house design forge a meeting point of the practical, financial considerations with the vision, creativity and requirements of the home-builder. Officially a professional architect is required, although the extent of this on actual design and construction depends on the individual. When the infrastructure, plans and permits are all in place, the contracts for construction can be finalised and the physical work begins. As a new and unique creation rises amongst the trees, experienced eyes help ensure the standards and details are maintained throughout the different phases of the construction. The gradual transition from vision to a living reality as a new home is born.
While the inspiration, size and shape of the creations are as variable as the creators themselves, the overall organic harmony of the village is a priority when any new home is created. Every house is different, but universal environmental standards apply in using timber from sustainable sources and maintaining aesthetic harmony with the environment, wildlife habitats and topography. With over a decade of experience, influencing everything from the choice of materials, suppliers, local contractors and house designs, building is much less of a leap into the unknown that it once was. This allows the professional focus to be directed more into creative refinements, rather than the testing of designs and techniques that characterized PachaMama’s first generation of construction. The home builders themselves are clear; the adventure of building their own home is a unique journey of creative manifestation in itself.
The High End
Size: Interior 110m2
Construction time: 9 months
Cost: House $ 90 K.
Finishing, furnishing and gardens: $ 30 K
Total: $120 K
A surreal Mexican inspired curved villa on a hilltop overlooking a 180 degree ocean panorama. The house was designed in close collaboration with a local architect and is uniquely without a single angle or sharp edge in the design. It took a dedicated local construction crew three months just to round all the corners. It’s all curves.
There is an open bathroom, large veranda with bathtub, main bedroom, a playroom and a huge open plan living and dining area with a studio and built in furniture. Finished in warm vibrant colors with acid stained concrete floors, the roof has a remarkable rainwater collection system that will allow a significant amount of water to be recycled. With over forty varieties of fruit trees planted around the site and a full permaculture plan for the garden, there is still the dream to build a swimming pool one day.
‘What a creation, we couldn’t believe it. It’s like a dream. It feels like the house is hugging me. All the energy is flowing, nothing is getting stuck.’
The Mid Range
Size: Interior 120m2
Initial phase 5 months
Cost. First Phase $ 32 K.
Finished and furnished $ 45-50 K in 2003. (At current prices about $ 70 K)
An owner designed, two story primarily octagonal house, which merges feng shui with principles of passive solar design. It has naturally resistant cedar wood floors and combines modern materials and design with hardwood and natural finishes. A combination of solid block and timber, the house has an open plan central living area with a high ceiling, around which are the kitchen, natural stone finished bathroom, storage and kids area. A spiral staircase leads to the second floor sleeping space and study, whilst outside a spacious deck stretches into the distant horizon.
‘The challenge is fitting the dreams with practicality. I felt like I’m only going to do this once…now it feels like home, although if I did it again I would do it totally differently.’
The Simple Home
Construction time: 3 months
Cost: $ 27 K
A traditional timber framed house, designed by the owner and inspired by others in PachaMama, perched on the most southerly point of the land. The hillside site and budget were prime considerations in the design, which allows for a second floor, deck and extension to be added later.
The main room is an open plan living space with a kitchen, living room and a partitioned sleeping area. There is a separate dressing room and storage. The house incorporates lots of wood and glass, with the only solid block construction being the multi level bathroom. Natural light, air currents and the passage of the sun were also important factors in the design.
‘I wanted light, lots of light…it’s like a birds nest, the hummingbird’s nest’.