Sinas Architects Designs Xerolithi Vacation Home With Curved Stone Walls


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.

Xerolithi is a vacation home on the Greek island of Serifos

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.

“These walls are very common in the Greek Mediterranean countryside,” 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.”

Rear terrace of the Xerolithi house by Sinas Architects
The design is inspired by xeroliths, a type of dry stone wall used locally in agriculture

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.

Facade of the Xerolithi house by Sinas Architects
Terraces frame the living spaces on the sides

“The walls have a lightness, like ribbons in the air,” 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.

Terrace of the Xerolithi house by Sinas Architects
Bamboo canopies frame the outdoor dining terraces

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.

Living room in the Xerolithi house by Sinas Architects
Bamboo also forms ceilings inside the house

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.

“The 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,” Sinas said.

“As a result, the bamboo has been knitted in a fishbone pattern, creating a unique pattern with beautiful textures of shades.”

Bedroom in the Xerolithi house by Sinas Architects
The bedrooms open onto a terrace with sea views

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.

Bathroom in the Xerolithi house by Sinas Architects
Each bedroom has its own en-suite bathroom

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.

“When you think of the Greek islands and its vernacular architecture, you think of scattered and stacked white boxes,” said Sinas, explaining his ambition to “challenge this morphological prejudice”.

Rear terrace of the Xerolithi house by Sinas Architects
A secluded rear terrace offers privacy

“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.


Project credits

Architectural design: Sinas Architects
Collaborater: Maria mamoura
Interior design : Olga Ktena, Sinas Architects

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