ISSUE 20  |  Greek Isles

Architect Visit: In Greece, a House and Landscape with a Slow Reveal

May 22, 2014 6:30 PM

BY Meredith Swinehart

We love a house designed first with its landscape in mind. This one, in the south of Greece, takes pains to both live with the landscape–and hide from it.

The single-family house was designed by Workshop Dionisis+Kirki, a collaboration between Greek architect Dionisis Sotovikis and French-born architect Kirki Mariolopoulou. The house is built into a hillside cut by a series of stairs. Climb the first set from the street to the ground floor, and you’ll find a fortress: an introverted concrete box only open to nature when the residents choose. Climb the next set and find an open, airy living space with sweeping views of the world around it. Climb the last set, and arrive in heaven: an all-glass swimming pool that hides from nothing.

Photographs by Vangelis Paterakis, except where noted. 

Workshop Dionisis + Kirki designed this home in the south of GreeceAbove: The structure is divided into two volumes with two distinct identities: the extroverted top floor is open to the landscape, while the ground floor is private, open to the outdoors only when residents choose.

Workshop Dionisis + Kirki took advantage of the landscape when designing this home in the south of GreeceAbove: The lower level contains the house’s private spaces, such as the bedrooms. Via heavy concrete doors, residents can choose to interact with the landscape or to be completely shut off.

Workshop Dionisis + Kirki took advantage of the landscape when designing this home in the south of GreeceAbove: The top floor of the house–the extroverted portion–has an artistic presence at nightfall with a wall of stained glass windows.
Workshop Dionisis + Kirki took advantage of the landscape when designing this home in the south of GreeceAbove: The top floor’s rooms, including the living room shown here, feature full-height glass walls to maximize views of the landscape. To the left of the house, perched on the hillside, is a swimming pool.

Workshop Dionisis + Kirki took advantage of the landscape when designing this home in the south of GreeceAbove: A staircase leads from the top floor of the house to a planted terrace, from which a bridge connects to the swimming pool, half-suspended over the hillside.

Workshop Dionisis + Kirki took advantage of the landscape when designing this home in the south of GreeceAbove: The kitchen, dining, and living spaces are on the top floor of the house; full-height glass walls bring the outdoors in.

Dionisis-Sotovikis-Earth-Light-Glass-Window-onto-Rocks-GardenistaAbove: The ground floor is not completely isolated; partial glass flooring allows for some shared interaction and light between the two.

Workshop Dionisis + Kirki took advantage of the landscape when designing this home in the south of GreeceAbove: With its concrete door tightly shut, a washroom on the ground floor is completely closed off from the outdoors. When the door is opened, light and fresh air fill the space.

Workshop Dionisis + Kirki took advantage of the landscape when designing this home in the south of GreeceAbove: The entrance from the street is dramatic: a staircase suspended between two high concrete walls leads to the ground level of the house. (An alternate entry from the street, albeit a much longer one, leads directly to the top floor.)
Workshop Dionisis + Kirki took advantage of the landscape when designing this home in the south of GreeceAbove: Photograph by Erieta Attali. The view of the Greek countryside from behind the staircase.

For more of our favorite Greek spaces, see Landscape Architect Visit: Thomas Doxiadis on Antiparos; Steal This Look: Greek Bamboo Canopy, and on Remodelista, A Greek Taverna on the Beach, Breeze Included.