Andros, Greece
2010 –

The southern hillside of Korthi Bay is not as untouched as it might seem. Centuries ago this part of the mountain was re-shaped into a series of low terraces and agricultural plots for cultivation and livestock. Silver-brown slate was collected off the ground to free up the soil and forms the undulating stone walls that follow the contours of the land. The surface of the mountain had been subtly altered as these walls were built on the land, creating a new landscape at once natural and manmade. The mountain then is best traversed in a zigzag fashion, one moves diagonally between the terraces to facilitate the walk. Movement in this way creates a rhythm of changing views: Korthi Bay, the sea, the mountain side, the valley and the village below. The Aegean horizon presents itself, an endless yet constant line which sets the elements in balance.

The landscape is spectacular, its scale and climate are accommodating, and its beauty intimately within reach. This of course makes the design of houses even more difficult. We asked: how do we design a house with interior spaces when one prefers to be outdoors? We soon realized that the houses here should not conceive the interior as an alternative place to the exterior, but rather that the interior must support the enjoyment of the land itself. Therefore, the movement against the mountainside becomes the guiding principle of the arrangement. We imagined the walk within the landscape and within the interior spaces as the same path, a continuous movement.

The white rectangular volumes step down the terrain, echoing changes in topographical order. Where the volumes meet the ground generous outdoor spaces extend outward, connecting the interior functions and activities of the house with the site at large. Dining, cooking, sleeping and playing all find adjacent outdoor space. Sometimes covered or semi-enclosed, appropriately fitted for their respective uses; an intimate terrace shaded during the summer mornings for breakfast, a panoramic balcony exposed to the sky and sea, semi-covered resting areas, a wide dining and cooking terrace for the evenings. As one moves within and outside the house, the notion of place is recreated through a sequence of framed views. The continuous paths which pass through the inside and outside become unifying elements. The stairs located along these paths are designed to emphasize the connection between spaces and to accentuate the experience of the site. The separate volumes and spaces of the house are connected through movement within the landscape.

Lot area: 20,000sqm
Total built area: 1050sqm (five house of 150-250sqm each)
Materials: concrete block, stucco, slate, wood, aluminum

Project Team: Landry Smith (Project Architect), Ian Kaplan, Louis Rosario.

Executive Architect: Studio 75

Developer: Isle, Ltd