Compiled by TeamIAnD
Photography: Courtesy Kois Associated Architects
Read Time: 2 mins
Illustrating the Greek Cycladic aura and its magic, this ‘cave- like’ house establishes a continuous dialogue with the landscape, in an effort to highlight how less is actually more…
Kois Associated Architects design an island house with a unique design intention. A residence fused with its surroundings, which not only documents and highlights the region’s identity, but also acts as an illusion of the natural environment, an almost invisible construction camouflaged under a water tank.
It is an experimental intervention on the island landscape, with the pure intention of leaving it almost intact, due to an implemented design strategy and a targeted selection of building materials, most of which are extracted from local sources and strategically used to make the house ‘disappear’ into the existing topography.
This single-level structure, where a linear wall, resembling the characteristic dry stone walls of the island, runs from the outside to the inside of the house and separates the public from the private areas, also acting as a boundary of the territory, is overlaid by a rimless infinity pool that merges with the seascape and the Greek sky, thus providing an illusion inspired by the optical phenomenon of “mirage”. The presence of the house is revealed only through the mirror-effect surface of the pool, keeping the rest of the property camouflaged.
Reinforced rammed earth walls become the bearing structure of the house. Twelve concrete columns are positioned at the living room, to support the pool, simultaneously making it appear as an independent floating volume.
The structural walls are constructed by a reinforced earth and cement mixture, poured and compacted into a mould. The inner walls have a white screed cement finish, allowing the metamorphosis of this ‘cave’ house through the reflection of light.
Sliding glasses blur the limiting boundaries between inside and outside, inviting light and movement and transforming the living experience. Controlled with a turn-able corner system, the glass panels can be stored in a designated area, when desired, thus transforming the living room into an open-air observatory.
The pool, acting as a roof, provides thermal insulation and protection from solar radiation and heat transmittance. Cool sea breezes penetrate the house pushing warm air out, thus achieving natural ventilation.
Recent winner of the 2016 American Architecture Prizes, the Mirage project is a poetic effort to reconcile nature and architecture. Situated on a steep sloped rocky plot overlooking the Aegean Sea, the main intention was not only to integrate the volume of the house into the rocky island landscape, but to investigate the boundaries between built and natural environment, always keeping in mind the basic Cycladic architecture elements of functionality and simplicity, without compromising on the aesthetics.