existing building architect:
The project is about the functional and interior reconfiguration and the landscape design of an existing unfinished edifice. The building was designed in 2006 by the architect Christos Koutelis. The realised construction included the main concrete structure and the external walls and windows.
It is a long rectangular situated in the middle of the site. The main entrance is located at the upper floor and the house is connected to the public space through a bridge. The bedrooms and the auxiliary spaces are located at the subjacent levels. The building is constructed by raw concrete and the full use of a glass façade is one of its main characteristics. The functional program includes the public living areas situated at the top floor, the bedrooms and the main bathroom at the ground floor and the guest room, the office and storage areas at the underground level.
The intervention had two objectives. First, it was deemed important to fully preserve the condition of transparency of the building, in its relation to the exterior. This transparency is one of the main virtues of the original design and consists a rare manifestation, for greek standards, of the relationship of private and public space. The need for privacy and more importantly for shading was met with the use of exterior vertical rollers that consistently follow the grid of the building.
The second goal was the introduction of a circular flow. A prism was created in the middle of the public areas, adjacent to the staircase. This prism hosts the office space and the library, the storage units, the WC and the pantry. At the edges of the prism are situated the living areas on the one side and the kitchen on the other. The circular movement is also present in the other two floors, mainly around the staircase.
The issue of materiality was very important, mainly because the presence of raw concrete at the columns and the ceilings was dominant and very appealing. However, the ceiling of the upper level was already rendered. This singularity was used as a reference point for expressiveness. The ceiling was painted blue and the color was instilled to all structures up to the line defined by the sill of the windows. The idea of zoning transcends the whole section of the building. The rest of the upper level was painted grey, as a continuation of the cement floor, thus creating the dipole floor/ceiling. This dialogue is again present in the bedrooms where the raw concrete ceilings and the bamboo floors define the frame of the space with their dominant presence. The concrete ceiling is also the main feature of the underground level and is further accentuated by the all white approach of all structures, like walls, closets or floor.
The landscape is divided in two distinct zones. The first zone, adjacent to the entrance, is a steep surface that bridges the top floor with the ground level. The connection is realized through a metal staircase, positioned diagonally to the inclination. The second zone is the most secluded part of the site and has a big pine tree as the focal point. A circular seating area is created around the pine tree and its connection to the main building is created through circular concrete steps.
The chosen plants are part of the mediterranean flora, suitable for areas with pine trees. The design suggests green units throughout the surface and integrates the existing elements to a meaningful whole. The main trees like cercis siliquatrum and amelanchier lamarckii are chosen for their sense of scale, the seasonal qualities and their vibrant colors.
The principle of transparency and the distinctiveness of interventions are apparent in the exterior structures as well. The balcony of the top floor, the metal staircase on the front slope and the fence are realized with the use of grill, clearly framing the new geometries without creating a visual dispute with the prism of the existing building.
posted January 19 2023