The World's Biggest Piece of Pottery: Casa Terracota is a House Made of Clay

Posted by Staff Reporter ( on Aug 25, 2015 07:59 AM EDT
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RISHTAN, UZBEKISTAN - AUGUST 13: (ISRAEL OUT) An Uzbek potter turns locally-dug clay on a wheel to prepare a bowl in a workshop, making the blue ceramics that the region is famous for on August 13, 2006 in Rishtan in the Fergana Valley in the central Asian country of Uzbekistan. Fifteen years after the breakup of the former USSR, the millions of Muslims living between the Caspian Sea and China, who for decades found themselves repressed under Communism, are experiencing an economic and religious revival. Following the August 1991 abortive coup attempt in Moscow and the subsequent dissolution of the Soviet Union, Uzbekistan declared independence on August 31, 1991. (Photo : Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

A Colombian architect named Octavio Mendoza wanted to show how soil can be made into architectural designs where people can live, and did so using only the natural resources available in his surroundings. Mendoza then started to build Casa Terracotta in 1998. He literally baked a 5,400 square foot house and called it as 'the biggest piece of pottery in the world.' It is made from pure mud sourced locally and baked into unusual shapes. 

From its exterior, the house appears like a curvy mushroom or a very big mound of clay that has been shaped to look like a cottage. A comparison has been made between this work of Mendoza and a hobbit's home, or something similar to a Star Wars set or a building of Spanish architect Antonin Gaudi. In fact, the locals of the Villa de Leyva where the structure can be found calls it the 'Flintstone House.' Lush green farmland surrounds it, with a relaxing and captivating mountain view as its backdrop.

Even inside the house, the tables, seats, and beds were made from baked earth. There were no steel bars nor concrete materials used for its construction. The rooms flow and curve in to each other. No straight line nor a 90-degree angle can be found inside. Though appearing rustic, the house has some modern amenities such as a colourful mosaic tiles covering the sink, solar panels to produce hot water, toilets, a lounge, a fully functional kitchen, and sleeping areas. The lighting fixtures are made out of scrap materials and the beer mugs that can be seen in the kitchen are from recycled glass. The utensils and kitchen table are made out of clay.

Mendoza, who has spent many years in designing homes, churches and commercial buildings, considers Casa Terracotta as his 'project for life'. While he lives in another house, he spends most of his time here. Casa Terracotta is open to the public, and visitors may tour this one-of-a-kind structure for only $3.50.

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