Casa Museo Otraparte: The Life and Works of Fernando González

Casa Museo Otraparte
Casa Museo Otraparte
The front of Casa Museo Otraparte and the surrounding gardens.

This past weekend while down in Envigado I made the trip to a lesser known and seldom visited museum (at least among the gringo crowd) called Casa Museo Otraparte.

Casa Museo Otraparte is a small museum dedicated to the life and works of Colombian philosopher and writer Fernando González (1895-1964).

González was born in Envigado and saw a great deal of change and upheaval throughout the nation during his life, from the loss of Panama, to the rise of the Colombia’s industrial revolution in Medellin, to the assassination of presidential candidate Gaitán which would set off a new wave of violence in the country.

González studied law at the Universidad de Antioquia, and went on to become a judge and later a consul in Italy, before ultimately returning to Envigado and beginning the construction of his villa which he called La Huerta del Alemán (The Garden of the German).

Though the onset of World War II and the Nazis spurred him into changing the name to Otraparte (Other Place).

Casa Museo Otraparte
Looking toward the Cafe del Otraparte adjacent to the house.

The Otraparte Villa, and former home of González, is the current location of the Casa Museo Otraparte. It is a modest but beautiful home situated in a lovely garden.

The museum itself attempts to preserve some elements of the look and character of the house as it was, while various displays throughout the house provide more information about the life and works of González (albeit only in Spanish).

Casa Museo Otraparte
The upstairs interior of the Casa Museo Otraparte.

Admittedly, the museum itself probably holds limited interest for foreign visitors, especially if they can’t read Spanish. But the house itself is something unique and is absolutely worth seeing.

It offers a glimpse back in time to a different Envigado, one not teeming with towering residential towers. The surrounding gardens are idyllic, with numerous flowers, meandering paths and water features.

The adjacent Cafe del Otraparte, which was recently highlighted here in Medellin Living as one of the Top 5 Cafes, is certainly worth the visit in and of itself.

Excellent food, coffee, and numerous desserts to be enjoyed in a quiet, natural space tucked within the bustling life of the city.

El Cafe de Otraparte
Espressos and a meat and cheese plate at the Cafe del Otraparte.

A prolific writer and thought leader on the subject of Latin American identity as well as the Colombian identity, González may not have the international name recognition of some other notable Colombian authors and artists.

Though his influence and legacy lives on his works and through the efforts of the Fernando González – Otraparte Corporation which runs the museum and aims to turn it into a hub of cultural activity in the city, replete with lectures, cinema screenings, musical performances and other unique activities.

If you happen to find yourself down in Envigado or are just looking for something a little different to do on a nice, quiet afternoon, you can’t go wrong with a quick visit to Casa Museo Otraparte along with a stop into the Cafe.

The museum itself is free and is located close to the Ayurá metro station, there is also a small parking lot available at the Cafe if you will be driving.

You can read more about González, his life, his works and his philosophy on Wikipedia.

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