In view of the strong local architectural tradition, the beauty of Thira’s natural landscape and the specific area, and in keeping with the existing provisions and laws for building on a lot outside the city plan, we proposed three (3) modern vacation homes with the aim of fully harmonizing them with the structured and natural environment. The three (3) residences constitute an architectural ensemble and aim at preserving and improving the aesthetics of the local built environment.
The proposed residences have strong local architectural features, but are shaped with modern intentions and design carvings. The adaption of building volumes to the environment was the starting point of our design and is approached with two distinctive gestures. Firstly, with materiality, the use of black-stone for the coatings and configurations of the surrounding area and secondly, with volumes, the existence of a dome in union with an orthonormal building volume. The proposal focuses on a timeless design, respecting the particularities of local architecture and the distinctive textures of the particular location. The three (3) residences aim at an architecture that is inextricably linked to the past, talks with the present and visualizes the future. As observed with the characteristic black-stones found on the plot, which have been incorporated with the passage of time seamlessly into the environment – covered by lichens. Similarly, as the snails find shelter in the cave of a rock and coexist with it, the integration of the building blocks is aimed at the harmonious coexistence between the current and the new.
The main concept of the design was created following three stages: Volume-Molding, Orientation and Carvings. Each stage follows its former but the architectural effect requires their simultaneous depiction.
Volume-Molding: The molding of the volume involves the formation of the elements that make up the structure of each dwelling. Each residential unit is formed by the coexistence of two basic volumes (A+B). Volume A is made of stone, whereas, volume B is a vaulted structure differentiated by its white plaster finish. The three volumes of the dwellings that are formed are connected through the courtyards, lintels (wooden pergolas) and stone walls (western wall extensions of each residence) creating a unified whole with consistencies.
Orientation: The configuration and location of the main building openings in combination with the layout of interior spaces was developed following a favorable orientation chart. The living quarters and the bedroom are organized on the south orientation, while the sanitary facilities, kitchen and storage areas on the north. The main elevation of the residence opens to the south-east and at the same time presents views to the exterior pool and the sea. The west wall of the house features charismatic small openings with fixed frames isolating the views on the bioclimatically unfavorable west side.
Carvings: The dynamic carvings of the plot regard the modern approach for the development of volume A, the exterior space, the pool and the intention to favor the south and east orientations. The carvings of the exterior spaces are dominated by ‘zigzag’ lines.
Each residence consists of three main floors (ground floor, attic and basement). The entry for each residence occurs from the central door on the ground floor. The ground floor is developed around two levels – the entry space, corridor & W.C. – and the living room and kitchen areas, where a level difference of two steps (0,34cm) occurs. The rise to the attic space is carried out from a ‘closed’ stairway of 0,64m width and a wooden handrail. Access to the exterior space occurs through the eastern “opening” that can be closed with 4 glass surfaces and looking towards the pool, or from the kitchen door which opens directly to the exterior dining area (equipped with a barbeque corner). Access to the underground (basement) rooms is made from a staircase of 0,94m width. Each residence has an independent central entrance.
Residence: The primary material of construction for each of the residences is the local black-stone. This is used for the primary lining of all the walls of volume A. Volume B, which refers to the attic space, is coated with white bituminous plaster. The swimming pools of prismatic plan are coated by quartz sand of earthly color.