By Lisa Flueckiger, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The green preserved hills of São Luiz do Paraitinga, only two hours from São Paulo and 3.5 hours from Rio de Janeiro, make a great get-away from the city to relax in nature, go hiking and horseback riding. With new eco-villas on sale at the Fazenda Catuçaba one can now plan for a longer stay in 1,000 – 1,400 meters altitude.
The eco-villas were designed by noted Brazilian architect Marcio Kogan and are conceived to fit perfectly into the green hilly landscape of the Fazenda, which borders the national park of Mata Atlântica.
The villas are single-story buildings built of natural materials, such as wood and clay and placed to allow for maximum sun, but also allow for privacy. They are planned to have 160 square meters inside with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room and a kitchen, as well as almost 40 square meters of covered outside terrace.
The villas are completely self-sustainable and equipped with solar panels, insulation, and a wind turbine to generate renewable stand-alone energy for the house.
The living room and the bedrooms can be heated through wood-stoves and the water is warmed through solar energy. The project has even been selected as a pilot by the Green Building Council, a global NGO, and is setting new standards of sustainable architecture in Brazil.
“By building a model of eco-villas with one of the most renowned architect[s] in the country, Marcio Kogan, we intend to demonstrate that [it] may be time to change that state of things, and that self-sustainability, cultural and natural integration, and concerns for the planet, go very well together with comfort, top-end architecture, world-class art and design,” Emmanuel Rengade, owner of the Fazenda Catuçaba and initiator of the project, told The Rio Times.
There will be only twenty of these villas, each located on lots of 3 to 5 hectares (7 to 12 acres), all with spectacular views of the mountains. Five have already been sold and the next lots will go on sale soon.
The first villas will start construction next week and are planned to be completed by the end of 2013.
“At its core, Fazenda Catuçaba is based on the idea that small communities are a more natural way of being together. We want to create a new way of living within the Fazenda’s unique environment,” Mr. Rengade explained.
Adjacent to the eco-villas lies the Fazenda Catuçaba, a luxury hotel and organic farm and the owners of the villas have a privileged access to the infrastructure of the hotel, such as the spa, the horses and the organic food. At the farm, all food is produced organically and ranges from coffee, over vegetables and fruit to milk and cheese.
Owners of the eco-villas, who will not always be present at their new home, can also use the hotel’s administration to rent out these villas. So, some of the villas will be available as holiday rentals, when their owners are absent offering another option of an exclusive retreat.