kapsimalis architects' two holiday houses overlook santorini's landmark volcano

kapsimalis architects' two holiday houses overlook santorini's landmark volcano

greek architecture firm kapsimalis architects has designed two contemporary holiday house in the traditional village of firostefani in santorinipre-existing cave houses, placed right next to each other and dug into volcanic soil, have been reconstructed and used as residences for travelers. the leftmost house measures around 110 sqm and consists of a living room, kitchen with a dining area, a small bedroom with a bathroom, the main bedroom with its bathroom, a ‘shower’ area, a sauna, a hammam and a space for massage and relaxation.

the main façade of the two holiday houses
all images © yiorgos kordakis



kapsimalis‘ second house on the righthand side includes comparable features with a smaller dimension of approximately 70 sqm. the intention of the project was to create two completely different cave houses that are almost opposing to one another. the longer cave house on the left has been designed as a primitive, minimal and sculptural space. sharp lines and volumes juxtapose with the smooth curves of the cave house. the use of similar color palettes and materiality onto the floor and the walls forms a continuity of the interior space, bringing out the curves and the random forms of the cave. the earthy hues become darker and darker from space to space until the last room, ending with a dark grey color.

an external staircase leads to a private balcony overlooking the volcano.



the curved walls in some parts replicate the thin layers of ‘skin’ that can be illuminated with a wide range of colors. the house is completed with pieces of furniture made of marble and wood, with diverse proportions and primary shapes. the house overlooks a volcano and to the bright scape of caldera, creating an antithesis between the darker interior space and the intense feeling of light of the yard. the second house has a different approach — the main idea was to convert the old cave into a futuristic, innovative place, attempting to push the limits of the space. the marks of the cave are obvious as the soil of the earth, appearing through the excavation, is well maintained. a construction of shady mirror covers two of the sides of the main room, offering a different perspective of the space.

the primitive and sculptural living space of the first cave house has a view of aegean sea



light and color effects inside the mirror create optical illusions, and luminous circular and rectangular holes that are simply a figment of one’s imagination. the floor is made of rough, light grey marble that strengthens the materiality and the texture of the pre-existing part of the cave. the extension of the house is a white box, that brings on its top a small pool. a rectangular hole on the ceiling reveals the existence of the water, giving a visual moving effect. within the main space of the house, the bed is placed in the center under the big vault, looking onto the volcanic view. the holiday house’s design is wholly integrated into the volcanic landscape and the cubistic architecture of santorini, with a contemporary aesthetic. Architecture: Kapsimalis Architects Photographer: Yiorgos Kordakis

sharp volumes and smooth curves coexist, creating a sensuous and mystical space

the use of similar color palettes and materiality onto the floor and the walls forms a continuity of the interior space

a small pool over the cave can be seen through a hole in the ceiling

marble and metal furniture pieces are found throughout the house

the shady mirror creates optical illusions to viewers

the dimly lit pools at sundown

the pool becomes one with the aegean sea

a place of relaxation and retreat

an areal view of the property and the village from above



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: lynn chaya | designboom

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