World Architecture Festival 2021 Finalist - Location: Mesaria, Santorini - Architects: V. Baskozos, N. Baskozos - Associate architects: A. Fotopoulou, Z. Kallianou, K. Ouzouni - Civil Engineer:N. Tsagkarlis - MEP design:M.K.A. G. Margaris, V. Kozoronis
Building a new structure in Santorini came with its own challenges. For several decades Santorini has been extensively built due to the growing demands of tourism, a phenomenon which has had a negative effect on the unique character of the landscape of local architecture. Our goal was to incorporate the building into the existing scenery whose shape, size and form is very particular; for this purpose, we avoided designing modern forms but instead we focused on the composition of the existing traditional typologies. Reflecting on those forms and translating them into abstract architectural elements gave us a pallet to work with. Another part of our design process was preservation. Arches, a cistern, a well, stairs, which were barely standing, were integrated into the current design. Anything that could not be preserved was demolished and the stones were used for the new construction. In addition what preexisted gave us guidelines and a sense of scale for our design.
The project is consisted of two semi-detached houses separated vertically. We used the typical layout of a local residence as a unit for each space, times four. The living areas are at the front side of the house and the bedroom is at the back. The two rooms are divided by a wall which is a replication of the façade. It has the same openings, allowing the back bedroom to be indirectly illuminated and ventilated by the front. It is a typical artifice in Cycladic architecture for protection against the climatic conditions, which helps to preserve the same temperature throughout the year. On the outside the building appears as a compound of smaller volumes, with small openings, for protection against heat and strong winds. The structure of multiple levels is reminiscent of Cycladic folk settlements where the ceilings of the houses bellow also serve as terraces for the houses above. Due to the development of the building in height, we drawed a lot of influence from Santorinis fortified settlements. Vertically separated, the building appears as two variations of the same type which is reminiscent of the wall-buildings of fortified settlements. In addition, we used elements like guarded rails and vaulted passages which are found in fortified settlements. On the underground levels the old preserved stone arch serves as a parking space and entrance for the the residence on the north. The underground level of the second house unfolds through a group of preserved old caves. The route is completed on a small private pool which is located where the old water storage used to be. The well is converted into a skylight for the pool. Overall the goal was to achieve a sense of unity within the composition, but also to give the impression that the building emerges from the land itself and blends seamlessly with its surroundings.