Greek studio Sinas Architects built a house on the island of Serifos, taking inspiration from local dry stone walls to make the building as low-key as possible.
The walls of the two bedroom house are designed to resemble the stone retaining walls typical of Greek landscapes. Known locally as xeroliths, these low walls were traditionally used for cultivating land.
George Sinas, founder of Sinas Architects, realized that this type of wall could be used to create a building that merges with the sloping topography. He called the house Xerolithi, in homage.
âThese walls are very common in the Greek Mediterranean countryside,â Sinas told Dezeen.
“In a very subtle way, they reveal the presence of man in areas that otherwise seem untouched by civilization. It just seemed right to experiment with this element and see how it could create form and space.”
These xerolite walls make it difficult to understand where the landscape ends and where the house begins. This effect is emphasized by the roof, which is covered with gravel and native shrubs to help it blend in with its surroundings.
Indeed, the house contains 245 square meters of floor space, as well as terraces that wrap around the living spaces.
âThe walls have a lightness, like ribbons in the air,â said Sinas.
“They seem to be slowly approaching, moving away from the slope and independently of each other, forming living spaces in between.”
The shape of the building dictated a linear layout for the interior.
The volume is divided into two blocks, the larger one containing the living areas and the master bedroom. Two additional guest bedrooms are located in the smaller block plus there is also a basement.
There are two sheltered terraces that can serve as outdoor dining areas, one that fits between the two blocks and a second located at the east end of the house.
While only the former is sheltered under the main roof, both are framed by wooden pergola structures with bamboo canopies. With their irregular arrangements of wooden beams, these pergolas feature an unusual chevron pattern that creates patterns of shadow and light.
This same materiality is also present inside the house – the wooden ceiling joists are exposed above the head and filled with alternating sections of bamboo.
âThe beams supporting this structure naturally could not be placed parallel to each other, rather they follow the sinuous morphology of the house, like vertebrae on a long spinal cord,â Sinas said.
“As a result, the bamboo has been knitted in a fishbone pattern, creating a unique pattern with beautiful textures of shades.”
Most of the interior walls are plastered, giving the interiors a light and airy feel, while the doors and built-in furniture are solid wood.
The bedrooms all have glass doors that open onto a front patio with sea views. The living room is glazed on both sides, allowing it to open up to both this space and a secluded patio to the outside. ‘rear, which offers more privacy and sheltered from the wind.
Xerolithi is currently used as a vacation rental property. Sinas hopes it will serve as an example for a new type of Greek architecture, more in tune with the landscape than the bright white boxes the islands are known for.
âWhen you think of the Greek islands and its vernacular architecture, you think of scattered and stacked white boxes,â said Sinas, explaining his ambition to âchallenge this morphological prejudiceâ.
“The main objective of this project was to experiment with alternative forms”, he added, “different from the archetypal architectural model of the Cyclades, while respecting all the basic elements that make up its character, and taking into account of the amazing scenery that would welcome this new addition. “
Also on Serifos Island, Greek studio Mold Architects partially submerged a sea-view house on a rocky hill.
The photography is by Yorgos Kordakis, with the style of Anestis Michalis.
Architectural design: Sinas Architects
Collaborater: Maria mamoura
Interior design : Olga Ktena, Sinas Architects