kapsimalis architects presents a complex of two houses in vourvoulos, santorini, which take the land itself as inspiration and a tool for design. located in a rural area in the northeastern part of the greek island, the hillside plot has access to a rural ‘river’ road and views of the aegean sea. the brief from the client is to create two similar residences in close proximity that maximize views out to sea. the integration of the natural volcanic landscape is also an important parameter for them, which serves as the starting point for the design.
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the concept by kapsimalis architects proposes to cut a piece of the hillside and move it forward, intimating the natural erosion, cracks and slip of solid rock masses, due to natural causes, found on the volcanic surface of the island. this artificial piece of land in its new position forms a covered passage under it, through which residents enter the house. this also leaves a crevasse at the rear of the building, where a small parking lot and secondary entrance can be found with the cut of the natural rock as a backdrop. the new rock is then carved into to form the living spaces and openings to the outside and the view beyond.
the two carved houses comprise a living and dining room, kitchen, WC, and master bedroom with wardrobe and bathroom. within the height of the mass, an attic with a bedroom and bathroom is also formed. in the basement, storage spaces, engine rooms and a rainwater collection tank are placed. the houses are flanked on either side by their open outdoor spaces.
within the atrium at the rear of each house there is an outdoor sunken seating corner with a fireplace, while in the front yard towards the sea view there is a shallow pool and a lounge area for sunbathing and outdoor dining. circulation begins from the visitors’ parking on the level of the rural road and passes under the building, and ends in a common sitting-dining courtyard at the edge of the plot closer to the sea, surrounded by vineyards, prickly pears and wild bushes.
the cave-like interior space is designed to create the sense of living in the rock. individual spaces result from the polygonal chain lines of the earth-like geometry, which together with the openings and nooks on the walls and ceilings of the eroded building mass create a variety of visual passages and transitions of natural light.
the exterior façades are formed using an earthy-shade of uncoated concrete that resembles the layers of the volcanic relief, in either smooth, untreated or chipped finishes. the same material and texture is chosen for the interior surfaces while cement plaster is applied on the floors. natural wood on the windows frames and furniture, oxidized sheet metal for the wardrobes and various natural rocks for other furniture pieces in dusty, matte textures and earthy colors complete the atmosphere of the earthy residences.
project name: complex of two houses in vourvoulos
location: vourvoulos, santorini, greece
architecture & interior design: kapsimalis architects
edited by: lynne myers | designboom
architecture in greece (89 articles)
kapsimalis architects (9 articles)
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