CONCEPT: The house is situated on the top of a hill on Antiparos, in the Cycladic islands, Greece. The design was conceived as an inhabitable Krater, a dwelling, which is inextricably linked to the landscape that forms it. During the design process a scene from 'Zabriskie Point', a film by Michelangelo Antonioni, inspired us. We used the scene as a reference for spontaneous, sensual inhabitation of the landscape.
DESIGN CHALLENGE: The location of the house on the top of a hill created two basic challenges for the design. We needed to protect the exterior living areas from strong winds of the Aegean Sea and we wanted to hide the volume of the house from the settlement, which is located at the foot of the hill. The concept of Krater was ideally suited to confront both challenges. The main exterior areas of the house were dug into the landscape forming the 'Caldera' of the Krater, a sunken area that is protected from the full force of the winds. Additionally a two-story stone volume was placed in front of the prevailing North-Eastern summer winds. Since all the elements of Krater were sunken into the landscape, only the second storey of the stone volume is visible from the village.
DESIGN ATTITUDE: The beauty of the landscape intrigued us. The primary objective of the design process was to explore the unique sensual identity of the site (genius loci) and through this exploration create a complementary dialogue between the intervention and the existing condition. We aimed to create events and experiences that spring from the powerful presence of the landscape, rather than designing a building that appropriates the landscape.
DESIGN PROCESS: In order to situate the intervention on the hill we analysed the local topography and the views from the site extensively. We carved into physical models of the area in order to form the inhabitable crater. Information was transferred from the model onto the landscape where the limits of the Krater, the direction of the lava flow and the vanishing points of the strongest views were marked and manipulated on site. All the information was transferred back from the site onto drawings through a detailed survey. Our findings were refined and developed further in a series of sections through the landscape that explored the flow and the interweaving of the four basic ingredients of the dwelling: Stone, 'lava flow', 'the alien' and water.
Stone: stone surfaces define the borders of the Krater. On the North side, a double height stone volume protects the Krater from the wind and houses multiple sleeping rooms and public gathering spaces. On the East, stone angled walls surround the Krater and form the entrance ramp. The South side features a stone volume, with a metal structure that supports a bamboo roof. Finally the West is open to sea views.
'Lava Flow': A path flows under the lap pool, like lava overflowing from the Krater. It is directed towards the guest house. Stone walls form its boundaries, folding back to let a small garden come to life. The guest house consists of two sheltered spaces and one roofless room (courtyard), in between them. One room is visible, the other is buried into the landscape.
'Alien': A long rectangular white volume is placed inside the Krater. Its central location reflects the cultural importance of its use: the preparation and enjoyment of food. Large glass sliding doors blur the boundaries between the interior space and the exterior courtyard. The kitchen windows frame specific views of the pool and the surrounding small islands.
Water: A 25 meter long lap pool marks the Krater's Western boundary, in axis with a small rocky island north of Antiparos and opens views of the sun set. The swimmer experiences a visual unification of the pool water surface and the sea, through the overflow on the western edge of the pool, right at the moment when turning for a breath. The lap pool becomes deeper and wider as it enters the Krater's main courtyard.
Building Area: 570m2 construction, 125m2 exterior covered spaces, 735m2 exterior paved areas