Summer House in Greece | Cometa Architects

Cometa Architects has designed a summerhouse in Kea Island, Greece. This house developed for the Mediterranean climate, using local materials and sustainable energy saving methods.


Description by Cometa Architects:

The steep ground and the plot’s narrow dimensions along with the very strict building regulations determine the pronounced and gradient form of the building which rises from the mountain and over the valley of Poisses, to finally balance itself with the surrounding traditional dwellings and the natural context. The island of Kea is characterised by its rocky dry hillsides creating poetic sculptural formations, amplified under the mediterranean sun. This wild raw nature, is what this building tries to preserve along with the use of the traditional manners of building, which have survived through the centuries, but lately neglected. Drylayring stonework locally quarred, low rise building which blend with the context, small openings which control the heat, and rain water collection are some of the methods that local ´architecture without architects´ dwelling culture has been using.

The principal material chosen is the local stone, carefully crafted against the horizontal microcement surfaces. Eager to apply the fundamentals of sustainable construction, the largest sum of the stone used, was from this same stone quarred from excavating the site itself in order to lay the foundations. Additional stone for finishings was brought from the local Stone quarry. Local stonworkers used the traditional method of dry stonework, breaking and shaping the stones according to the form and needs.

This secondary home of a family of four, spreads through 3 correlated volumes, which clearly can be defined as the seating & kitchen volume, the circulation tower and the sleeping & storaging volume. Around these volumes, the perimetrical terraces are unfolding, some under the surface of the hill, some at the same level and some projected over it. This experience of this Cycladic landscape is the design’s main concern expressed through this spatial evolution and relationship of the building with the dramatic land. This is achieved through the traditional method of construction called “kotounto”, a dry, humid-free space between the rock and the building. In such a way, these external spaces, makes the building sometimes trying to break away from the rock and sometimes to reconcile with it.

Apart from this traditional tecnique of the humid free gap between the rock and the building, which is principlally used to drain the waters coming from the mountains, leaving walls and foundations dry, the house includes in its design an under-floor heating installation which circualtes hot water, generated by the solar heaters installed in the roof. The cooling is achieved from cross ventilation, a typical traditional method of local construction having many small openings diagonally placed from each other and also an additional under-floor cooling is provided. The pérgola is shading the big openings from the morning sun leaving the sunset colors slip in and paint the white interior ´canvas´ deep yellow and red. Finally, the rainwater is collected in the 3 rooftops and stored in an underground reservoir.

Another take on the traditional and sustainable island architecture are the simple minimal furnishings, many of which are built into the whitewashed interior. The sofas doubling for storage space, the wraparound counter space in the kitchen; the beds even the benches and wood-topped table of the veranda outdoor’s aim to provide a modest but comfortable living. Materials, such as the natural rope, floor-to-ceiling, “banister”, the wooden kitchen, the pale grey painted wooden window frames and shutters which are contributing in the control of the heat and the ease of the breeze are elements that honor the local tradition but perfectly serve the modern needs.

– HONORABLE MENTION IN DOMES ARCHITECTURE AWARDS IN CATEGORY BEST NEW BUILT, GREECE, 2017

– SILVER AWARD IN A`DESIGN AWARDS, FOR ARCHITECTURE, BUILDING AND STRUCTURE DESIGN CATEGORY, ITALY 2017


Design Office: Cometa Architects

Partner Architect in stage A: Betty Tsaousi
Team: Faidra Matziaraki & Victor Gonzalez Marti
Betty Tsaousi, Olga Balaoura (stage a)
Laura Mascuñan, Denisse Gómez Casco (stage b)

Location: Kea Island, Greece

Structural Engineer: Nikos Zoulamopoulos

Interior design: Faidra Matziaraki & Victor Gonzalez Marti

Site surface: 10530.00 m²

Built surface: 115.00 m²

Photographs: Dimitris Kleanthis


 

House Eichgraben | Franz Architects

A single-family house in the countryside in Austria, has been designed by Franz Architects.

Description by Franz Architects:

After the birth of their first daughter, the young family were taken by the idea of a single-family house in the countryside. in the wienerwald they found a little house in need of rehabilitation with a large garden. Prospective possibilities of enlargement were already investigated before buying the property. The lean budget required a high portion of own capital in order to take the first steps in renovating the old building and undertake thermal sanitation. Upon completion of sanitation, the second child had already been born, and thoughts regarding an annexe became more concrete. Also, the grandmother’s wish for a granny flat should be taken into consideration. Building regulations left little leeway regarding building density and height. in order to accommodate the entire spatial programme, developing a two-storey structure was mandatory. Illumination of the partly subterranean granny unit in the basement is guaranteed by a strip of windows adapted to the site characteristics. A free-standing sanitary core divides the open space into sleeping and living areas. The possibility of later converting the granny unit into a small doctor’s practice was taken into consideration during planning. Instead of the former treehouse, a wooden box floats above the ground floor which in the first development phase is intensively used by meanwhile three children as a large, 3.5m high playroom including a climbing wall, swing, and football goal. All installations have already been prepared for later partitionment into up to four separate rooms. The basement including the cantilevered ceiling was done in site-mixed concrete. the wooden box was constructed with solid wood tiles and wainscoted on all sides including roof and soffit with diagonally running larchwood latches. Due to the complex geometry with its double mitre cut the grey-glazed latches were mounted by staff of the architectural practice and the principal themselves. the wooden latches are a dominant design element not only outside, but also as ceiling lining in the granny unit and wall panelling in the glass joint between the existing building and the new construction. Instead of the former gas calorific value heating, the whole building is now supplied with warm water and heating by an air heat pump. Apart from the high thermal standard, the long-term flexible and adaptable building makes a distinct contribution to sustainability. In times of a rising number of single-person households, high divorce rates and single-parent families, this project is an example of how three generations can live together in one building in contemporary architecture. This is aided by the different room atmospheres on various levels of old and new building parts in order to fulfil the changing requirements of common areas and possibilities of retreat. The last extension for the time being was the realisation of a large treehouse with a rabbit hutch.


Design Office: Franz Architects

Location: Eichgraben, Austria

Project Year: 2012

Photographs: kurt kuball | franz zt gmbh


 

Malta Penthouse | Mizzi Studio

The fifth floor penthouse, in Malta, has been designed by Mizzi Studio to flow like a conventional apartment but without walls to demarcate individual spaces.

Description by Mizzi Studio:

Tucked away inside a huge building on an industrial estate overlooking a highway in Malta, is the unexpected penthouse apartment of Maltese-born, London-based architect, Jonathan Mizzi of Mizzi Studio.
The building’s unusual location is a demarcation line between where the residential zone starts and the industrial area ends, but it is exactly this incongruity that drew Mizzi to the location.
The result is an unexpected spacious open-plan penthouse within the former industrial building. More surprising still, are the penthouse’s unrivalled views over to the iconic Birkirkara Church and Mdina, the silent city.
While vast at 1614 SQ FT, this fifth floor penthouse has been designed by Mizzi Studio to flow like a conventional apartment but without walls to demarcate individual spaces. The result is a series of different functional zones with their own respective energy while the overall design has a tranquil and calming aesthetic and effect.
Design Concept: Inspired by Neo-Futurism, the penthouse has a warm “NASA” space bunker feel. Although industrial and raw, the space also feels contemporary and sophisticated.

Design Details: There are two main design features to the penthouse: the free-flowing Island and a curved bulkhead with a floating fireplace. There is a fluid dialogue between their composition within the flat, each piece naturally leading your eye to the other, and back and forth in a circular motion.
The island seamlessly morphs out of the concrete floor, exposing a white resin flooring underside that accentuates its sense of motion. Meanwhile, the warmly back-lit curved bulkhead leads down to an integrated floating fireplace.
Mizzi Studio left the original pre-stressed concrete roof planks exposed to form the ceiling which has hints of warm rust spotting throughout, creating an earthy warm deep and rich texture. The living room floor is split in line with the end of the curved bulkhead changing from micro concrete flooring to a walnut parquet floor.
The general lighting throughout the apartment utilises white surface-mounted track lights with industrial galvanised conduits adding to the futuristic feel.
A combination of dramatic sculptural design and innovative lighting throughout this apartment, serves to create a warm, homely feeling in an otherwise cold open space.


Design Office: Mizzi Studio

Location: Mdina, Malta

Photographs: Studio Konnect


The Wolf House | Wolf Architects


Description by Wolf Architects:

When you arrive at the house you enter via a formal pedestrian entry. Beyond that is a contemporary Chinese garden which in itself is a playful expression of east meeting west. A bridge over a dry riverbed directs you the office at the rear.

The office can accommodate several people and has its own bathroom and kitchenette. This allows for future use as an additional bedroom or granny flat. Resale is always an important consideration and most of the spaces were designed to be flexible in use.

It was agreed that one of the most unsustainable things in houses is doing premature renovations. This house was designed with long term vision in mind.

At the front of the house is a large north facing yard which provides a great space for children to play privately and securely. It leads onto a generous double height front porch which then directs you into the house.

The front porch has a dark polished concrete floor with a sealant that allows for the floor to also be a large blackboard for children to draw on. The main living space opens onto this northern yard with a set of quality commercial grade bi-fold doors which open completely.

The floor level between the inside, front porch and lawn is very slight and this further blends the inside to the outside.

Entry into the house is through a large walnut veneered door. Instead of a sculpture ahead or painting hanging on the wall, the wall is in itself a piece of art. This approach was taken throughout the house with many of the family’s collections. The objects for display are integrated into the architecture.

The Star Wars action figures for example, are on individual stands on a wall and this forms a part of the walls texture making the whole display a feature in the interior architecture.

The heart of the ground floor is triangulated by the living, dining and kitchen spaces. These areas were considered in the brief to be where the family spend most of their time together and therefore had to be interconnected. They are separated primarily by a double sided fireplace, an example of clearly defined spaces without walls. The kitchen is positioned at the western point of the triangle and acts as a control tower from which most of the house and landscaping beyond can be overseen.

Enhancing Everyday Living…

Encouraging Connectivity throughout…

The residence is separated from the office by an operable glass wall located at the southern end of the dining room. Within the office is a space for one of the classic cars. The dining room is at the bottom of the vertical corridor and by looking upwards one understands why the house is so light filled. Light penetrates in most areas from multiple windows. No artificial light is required throughout the day and at night the house’s lighting is almost 100% LED. The dining room is strategically placed in the centre of the home and with a large void above it to enhance the feeling of sacredness, representing how the family regard meal times spent together daily.

The site was not without its challenges. Certain elements of the previous 1940’s residence we retained for cost saving reasons and in consideration of embodied energy and sentimental value. These areas included:

– The existing master bedroom and ensuite which had been renovated several years prior

– A yellow brick tunnel which now has a mural painted by the owner

– The front fence

– The rear yard

– A large 4 car tin shed

The result was a house that consisted of 28 interconnected spaces unfolding over 10 subtle level changes. The key to the design is a multi-purpose vertical corridor which acts as a thermal chimney. It also allows for many internal views and vistas which are integral to the houses connectivity. Light can also penetrate through the space, allowing the Northern sunlight to penetrate to the deepest parts of the house.


Design Office: Wolf Architects

Location: Victoria, Australia

Area: 441.6 m2

Photographs: Dave Keluza


Industrial Home | Marisa Gonzalez LLanos

 


Design Office: Marisa Gonzalez LLanos

Location: Madrid, Spain


 

Party Apartment | Nghiêm Phong + Đào Thành

 


Design Office: Nghiêm Phong, Đào Thành

Location: Keangnam, Ha Noi, VietNam

Area: 350.0 m2

Project Year: 2016

Photographs: Quang Tran