Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
House A+B in Paros, Greece by buerger katsota architects
April 22nd, 2012 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: buerger katsota architects
The scheme aims at accommodating the different needs of two families on vacation. The single volume of one building is broken into smaller ones, different in height and size, placed freely but in relation to each other resulting into an ensemble. The ensemble is sited upon a solid stone and concrete platform at 80cm above a preserved agricultural field in immediate adjacency to the sea. The site offered dramatic views out to the bay, the sea beyond and the island of Naxos. The ensemble sited within the buildable area designated by the planning laws, looks to exploit the views offered by its location and to orientate all its internal and shaded spaces towards the sea and the spectacular landscape.
Seen from the sea, the ensemble is a collection of individual volumes forming a unified arrangement below the horizon of a canopy. Offset to the platform at first level, the translucent canopy (16m x 52m) cantilevers from the shifting volumes, delineating over 500m² of shaded spaces and offering endless possibilities for outdoor appropriation. The volumes’ shifts create a variety of niches, extrusions and spaces achieving a plasticity of form, yet an architectural cohesion -both in the interior and the exterior- that reflects upon, respects and responds to the Cycladic architecture. This shifting layout allows the definition of several different outdoor spaces and rooms including breakfast terraces with outdoor kitchens, a dining terrace with a barbeque, a terrace for night projections. With regards to the indoors, the private spaces such as wet units and sleeping areas are accommodated in the volumes, while the ‘public’, living areas of each house are accommodated in their in-between zones, as extensions of the outdoors.
Looking to provide a sense of continuity to the traditional Cycladic architecture, the volumes feature punched full height windows while the interstitial living areas have large, panoramic windows, extending the full width of the space and providing all encompassing views. The simple and calm spaces allow the landscape to form a powerful and changing presence, viewed through the full height openings from the back garden, through the interior and out into the beach and the sea. On top of the interstitial spaces, two large roof terraces, offer another set of framed panoramic views, not only towards the sea but also towards the surrounding hills.
Designing for a holiday home in the Cyclades required sensible and sensitive climatic strategies in order to take advantage of the particular climate and environmental conditions defined by a generally mild winter, abundance of all year sunshine, strong sun radiation during summer months, high temperatures and shortage of water especially during the holiday season. The extensive translucent canopy acts as a vast climatic moderator providing comfortable shaded areas for all day use, especially during summer.
The building complex by being well insulated externally, having its glazed surfaces protected from direct sunlight, and being well connected via its foundations to the soil’s constant thermal mass, avoids summer overheating requiring thus no air condition or mechanical cooling. The heating system is based on a solar panel / hot water boiler providing hot water and heating supply for under floor heating with efficient consumption and low dependency on fossil fuel. With regards to water management, two recycling systems are put in place providing water for irrigation. The first collects all grey waste water and treats it through a series of advanced settling tanks, while the second collects the rain water in a 300m3 tank integrated in the platform. The landscaping design has been carefully developed to make use of the annually collected water without relying upon any additional supplies.
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