The driving force in this project was the desire to counter the Greek tradition of mindless building: huge excavations, no consideration for landscape, energy consuming buildings, and misuse of materials.
There was also the determination to work around local building permit limitations, which invariably result in the sprinkling of ‘Cycladic white’ cubes throughout the landscape.
Thus the objective was for the building to have the smallest possible impact on the land and the landscape through aesthetic choices, sustainable design and construction methods which would permit nature to partially reclaim it.
The 270 m2 house is complemented by an underground water reservoir and a donkey barn; its quasi-linear form was adopted in order to expose only its narrowest parts to the prevailing northern winds.
The roof levels roughly follow the landscape’s natural relief and are planted with flora collected from the foundations’ excavation site, as a way to “neutralize” its footprint. The ambition is for the roof to become an integral part of the surrounding natural landscape, ultimately using rainwater as the main irrigation source for the plants. All façades are load bearing and the building materials used are either traditional, or very common. Façades exposed to public view are made of local stone, built in a rough traditional manner so as to be indistinguishable from the numerous boundary-walls found in the area and throughout the Cyclades, whereas the sea-facing façade is made of concrete.
Resources such as grey waters and secondary building materials are recycled.
Laminated panels used to mould the concrete parts of the building will be used to fabricate shutters, cabinets, wardrobes and cupboards.
Air cooling is achieved through the use of two different systems: a 30m long pipe network exploiting soil temperature, through which fresh air is channelled, cooled, and then propelled into the main living areas, and a network of very narrow vertical windows, (0,40m wide), which, when opened, create a constant airflow throughout the house. The interior’s exposure to sunlight is to be regulated through a system of pergolas, shutters and low energy double-glazing. There are no direct fuel-consuming appliances.
Construction paused before the project’s completion.
The decision to present the project at this stage, as a contemporary Greek ruin, stems from the fact that it constitutes an architectural entity where all initial design principles are fulfilled, visible and relevant to the project as a whole, and the certainty that when and if work is resumed, most probably by another team, initial design specifications are not likely to be followed.
Thus the paused project, at present, captures the moment of its truest intention as an architectural proposition.
Project: Ypsilon House
Area: 270 sqm