TreehouseCollaboration with Atelier Bow Wow Residential, Cyclades, Under construction
- Stefanos Nasopoulos
The brief called for a one bedroom addition to an existing summer house. To further break up and enhance the human scale of the existing built environment the design solution opted for a completely detached small volume that houses the additional guestroom. The structure of the ‘cabana’ is entirely made of stone left externally exposed and whitewashed inside. The rawness of the traditional stone wall construction contrasts with the more detailed and light interior finishes to create a feeling of airy spaciousness.
The project Aegean Fields, Astypalaia is the first development of its kind at this scale in the Mediterranean, a project for responsible travel that will combine contemporary hospitality design with an innovative model of real estate development. Travelers and new farm owners will be able to participate in the regeneration of the land and the healing nature of a balanced and environmentally conscious travel experience.
Reflecting these aspirations, the core of the development in the 530 hectare ‘mandra’ estate is concentrated in the heart of the property near the ancient farm buildings.
A hotel which will be the new social hub of the area takes the shape of an island settlement perched between two hills. It will house all the communal areas and amenities servicing the farms. Extending from this new settlement which is centered around the existing chapel of Agia Marina, a discreet network of pathways and roads leads to 4 distinct farm areas, each with individual characteristics according to their location and landscape features.
The new houses at each estate emulate the traditional land use patterns of the old ‘katoikies’, the stone shelters used by Aegean farmers. The residential development follows a strategy of very large plots with a small, distinctive building program. This program through the reuse of existing derelict landscape structures, new plantation and low density construction will reinvigorate the existing agricultural land, preserving 220 hectares as a natural reserve.
The St Catherine’s Competition challenge beyond the technical problems involved in the conversion of an old industrial structure, was how the monolithic, repetitive and massive structure could house the spirit of St Catherines school with its culture of diversity currently expressed in a varied network of intimate indoor and outdoor spaces that foster communal interaction and strong relationships as an essential part of the Educational program.
Although regular in plan the existing structure has a number of variations in section which combined with the repetitive deep bays don’t direct through to significant building references.
Basic re-development goals proposed were:
• Creating new outdoor areas
• Bringing natural light into dark spaces
• Setting up clear school circulation
• Directing an axis of orientation within the new school building
The concept allows the diversification of the monolithic structure in a network of open and closed spaces of varying scale ranging from the intimate to the communal. While respecting the economy and regularity of the existing structure the proposed concept creates an entirely new architectural environment to house the needs of the school program
New family house in Psychiko. The loss of green space in the suburb has been significant in the last decade. The owners seeked actively to address this issue as a major aim of the architectural brief. At the same time an expansive program requiring a formal separation of living and reception areas had to be accommodated. The solution adopted is appropriate to the long narrow site and uses separate program ‘bands’ which also resolve the architectural volume as it progresses from the street front scale to the more intimate scale of the suburban garden.
Renovation of offices and depot front of house including entrance public circulation areas. The existing building façade was overexposed to natural sunlight due to its south western orientation and large glazed surfaces. This resulted in high energy consumption for cooling needs, as well as a poor working environment. The intervention proposed a radical facelift without expensive reconstruction at the existing structure which is due for demolition in the near future. The solution uses vertical aluminium clad louvers which change orientation following the sun path as part of a new independent elevation with light connectors to the old structure. Office interiors are redesigned with modular custom-designed furniture, including a new waiting room for corporate leasing customers.
Renovation and relaunching of a 1970’s beachfront hotel located in the area of Marathon at the eastern coast of Athens. The brief formulated with the owners and operating company called for a conceptual reinforcing of its emblematic status as a landmark 1970’s hotel. Design was restricted by a very tight construction budget requiring the reuse of the existing structure including partitions focusing expenditure on a new pool at the center of the redevelopment. The architectural solution for the renovation of the rooms focused on the existing period finishes of floors – pebble terrazzo – and ceiling – exposed wood formwork concrete – transforming them into signature detail elements. The hotel’s architectural renovation is paradigmatic of a targeted allocation of limited resources used to maximum effect.
In a 500 hectare estate, characterized by rapid land errosion due to unchecked animal grazing, with many remnants of old agricultural infrastructures (footpaths, dry wall soil retaining structures) the development of an innovative model of agrotourism is proposed based on the reintroduction of agriculture and controlled farming coexisting with new tourist and holiday home infrastrucures. The concept is founded in the potential synergies between the two introduced activities in overlapping their normal yearly cycles. The proposal goes against the grain of the mode of development of recent decades in the Aegean where large swathes of old agriculural land were readily subdivided in small commercial parcels for holiday home development leading to the suburbanisation of many old intact – though abandonned – landcapes beyond recognition. In contrast the proposal looks for ways to integrate the programme of the two normally conflicting activities. A dense new small settlement is proposed which will house communal areas and services as well as the core visitor facilities. Out of this hub a new network of pathways and electrical cart routes is proposed which follows much of the exisitng derelict old paths where posibble. A very low density of compact new houses stretches along these paths emulating the traditional land use patterns of the old ‘katoikies’, the shelters used by farmers which were in many cases used as second seasonal homes.
Psychiko is the archetypal Athenian suburb designed and first inhabited in the interwar period. Recent decades have seen a systematic effacing of its significant history through senseless re-zoning and commercial redevelopment pressures. The initial project brief called for the remodelling of the original 1950’s suburban home through additions to its northern flank to add living space to the existing lower ground floor. The proposal provides a solution more typical to a museum extension, a new detached and highly transparent volume connected to the old house. With its curved form the living room annex opens to the lower ground floor garden maximizing the exposure of its southern flank to the natural light which filters through the garden. The old house is left intact.
The proposed house is located on a steep site on the northern slopes of mount Penteli overlooking Marathon and the bay of Nea Makri. The site is on the border between recent suburban development which stretches downhill to the seafront and the designated Penteli forest. A linear volume formed by the plane of a long green roof and aconcrete platform is inserted along this boundary. The raised concrete platform acts as the boundary between the private spaces and the street below making the use of an unsightly boundary wall unnecessary. Exterior and interior spaces alternate on the platform making the volume permeable and allowing natural light and the forest to penetrate in the interior. The roof forms a useful flat extension to the otherwise steep forest ground. A discreet single room emerges on this new ground enjoying privacy and panoramic views towards the bay.
Marathonisi is a private island within the National Marine Park of Zakynthos. Its northern coast is host to a nesting beach of the protected Loggerhead sea turtle Caretta-Caretta. Existing legislation allows the restoration of the old agricultural estate as well as the implementation of light infrastructure for ecotourism. The restoration project is a painstaking study of the existing ruined complex of buildings in parallel with a study of local architectural heritage that was swept away in the devastating earthquake that hit the island in 1953. The landscape plan incorporates the old estate agricultural infrastructure with the new proposed environmental interpretation infrastructures into a unified whole for eco-tourism. The target set by the brief is to enable the reorganization of current ad-hoc tourism which is harming the sensitive beach biotope into a controlled unique educational and recreational experience.
In the Cycladic island of Antiparos this house is situated on the northwestern ridge of a promontory overlooking the Paros-Antiparos straits. The area is locally known as ‘Vigles’ meaning ‘vantage points’. The volumes of the house form an extension of the slope with their profile dictated by the ridgeline. The roof allows an uninterrupted promenade with multiple vantage points to take in the panorama of the Archipelago. In turn the staggered volumes shape the introverted space of the main courtyard which is the focal point of daily life in the summer months. Protected from the northern winds and with shaded corners this space is an inversion of the magnificent scale of the Archipelago. The experience of the site shifts between the two constituent elements of the Archipelago, between sky and horizon.
Heterogeneity and Cohesion: the case of Theatrou square
Theatrou square and its neighborhood are characterized by intense heterogeneity both in form and social content. The proposal aims to activate the positive dynamic of this heterogeneity in order to bring about a new cohesion.
A new system of spatial demarcation is adopted with the use of different materials and datums. Heterogeneity is expressed in plan and section and cohesion in elevation.
The planar geometry is adapted to existing conditions redefining the street inclination while respecting the current levels of the various ground floors. The new spaces created in this way define, extend, bind or separate different activities that flood out of the buildings and/ or the wider urban network.
The proposed intervention with the new connections and public spaces that it suggests puts in place the basis for change of the existing condition of spatial and temporal voids. This renewed condition aims to make the area attractive for new residents and together with compatible uses can contribute to a renewed cohesion and regeneration of the wider neighborhood.
The project is located in the unique landscape of the Zakynthos island plain. This fertile plain is characterized by a very soft topography punctuated by small hills that are usually covered by old pines and eucalyptus trees. At the foot of such a hill the brief required the design of a group of independent holiday homes. To minimise the diffusion of built volumes which is suburbanizing the area the proposal groups the homes in twins that form independent units. This unit takes as a precedent local medieval split level prototypes. The split level section is housed in a simple monolithic volume which is a discreet addition to the landscape.
Located above the Attiki Athens ring road, the office building forms a protective boundary between the residential blocks and the highway. The southern elevation facing the highway is a continuation of the road’s concrete retaining walls. A double ventilated glass screen clads a section of the raised ground floor allowing natural light to penetrate the full depth of the open plan work hall. This space holds no permanent offices and is used as a temporary docking area for IT personnel. The concrete paneling of the first floor encloses the permanent compartmentalized office spaces which have continuous use.
The purpose of this prototype is the examination of the minimum required shelter to serve the needs of a vacationer in a subtropical climatic zone. Greece like other countries in this climatic zone is an example where a majority is a small-parcel landowner and second-home investor with the corresponding effects in extra-urban unplanned development. The design addresses a context of financial and environmental constraints that are feeding a reappraisal of vacation needs. The ‘cabin’ type lies between the free-camping tent and the auto-attached caravan. Legally it is not considered a permanent building and as opposed to prefabricated villas doesn’t require a foundation therefore leaving no trace in the land. The 6m2 cabin can be equipped to serve as a bedroom, a kitchen or a WC. It is available in various finishes, prefabricated and transported anywhere and can be combined into a multi-unit system to be connected to locally available infrastructures.
Mykonos Grace hotel is situated in Agios Stefanos bay, on the island of Mykonos. The project involved the refurbishment of an existing hotel, with construction time restricted to 7 months.
The existing complex structure was the result of a series of extensions over a 10 year period. It consisted of two connecting wings, formed by stepped volumes that follow the natural slope of the hill, creating outdoor terraces with sea views. The hotel was operating 36 small rooms some of which lacked adequate natural lighting, ventilation or privacy, and most of which had poor interior layouts. Public spaces were divided between two levels: The reception situated at entrance level, isolated from other activities, and the bar-restaurant and pool situated on level 3. Existing circulation compromised the privacy of adjacent rooms and weakened the distinction between back and front of house. The refurbishment brief set by the project team was to reinvent the experience of the hotel by maximizing its existing advantages (sea views, differentiated open spaces) for the benefit of both its private and public areas.
By claiming dispersed in-between public areas for private use individual terraces were created that extended the rooms’ domain outdoors. Jacuzzis and sun decks were built in most of the terraces. The extension of the rooms outdoors, allowed for the internal layouts to change in favor of more spacious bathrooms. The bathrooms were revised in all room layouts and their lack of natural light was addressed by opening windows that connected the room and bathroom visually and enhanced the quality of the space, giving it depth. In most bathrooms the walk-in showers afford views of the sea.
Reallocating problematic public areas to private use had also the effect of reinforcing public circulation and strengthening the presence of the primary public areas, the entrance level and the pool level. The swimming pool and bar-restaurant remained in their original locations, with alterations to their layouts to optimize daily use-patterns. The swimming pool’s size was reduced in favor of a larger sun-deck/pool-bar area. A stairway was added to connect the existing level 4 lounge and its shaded balcony to the pool level, creating a cool lounge extension.
The main strategic changes were the relocation of the reception area directly across the entrance courtyard, and the creation of a spa and business lounge. The interaction between these public spaces, as well as the opening up of the courtyard space enhanced the public character of the reception and entrance, making it more accessible and relaxed.
The success of the project is due as much to the reinvention of the identity of the hotel through the meticulous renovation of individual rooms as it is to the revised planning and coherent character of its public areas. The two were inextricably linked.
Project Architects: Dionysis Zacharias, Alexandra Stratou
This listed mansion dating from the beginning of the 20th century is a characteristic example of the eclectic villa architecture of the old resort of Poseidonia in Syros island. Apart from the rebuilding and interior conversion of the mansion the owner required the integration of 3 separate guesthouses in the difficult topography of the plot. The rigid hierarchy of the interior was reconceived, more fluid and extroverted. The structural organization of the building was nominally retained and a new level was inserted in the rear part of the existing tall volume which allowed the unification of the main spaces of the ground floor. This informed the planning of the exterior spaces: A new courtyard in the protected southern part extends out of the new daily spaces and the old colonnade to the grounds. Its retaining wall acts as the external wall of the guesthouses, an inhabited wall which gives privacy to the grounds from the adjacent modern developments and creates a second more intimate scale. Every guesthouse has its own small courtyard in a separate level. The central court acts as a square where the daily life of the various occupants converges
Project Architects: Dionysis Zacharias, Alexandra Stratou, Andreas Kyranis
Interiors: Tina Komninou
Photos 7,9,10,11,14 by Odysseas Lekkas