It’s more than a few decades since Habitat visited Greece and its iconic islands, but that experience is still easily recalled. Coastal Greece evokes a very particular signature: clean white structures accessorised with natural rock, occasional rich blue accents and splashes of foliage. Add to this enviable canvas, an overall unforgettable clarity of light and the placid blue of the Aegean sea.
Block722 is an Athens-based architectural practice founded in 2009 by Sotiris Tsergas and Katja Margaritoglou. The practice is active in the architectural, interior design and construction fields through Block722 and manages a wide variety of projects – from initial planning through to final completion – in the residential, retail and business sectors.
The firm’s partners say that an individual and collective experience is key. This ensures the necessary, vital cooperation with competent and specialised suppliers and craftsmen, in order to meticulously realise the required architectural concept; a factor very evident in this project. The partners maintain that a close relation with their clients is important for a successful collaboration and outcome; and the practice showcases this acquired experience via full project management.
The design process begins with a thorough conceptual approach and the correlation and interaction between the distinct units of the project. Says Sotiris Tsergas: ‘The use of clean lines and the creation of quality architectural spaces are design rules that define each project, independent of their scale. An important factor of the design and construction phase is the selection of excellent quality materials; this to realise and enhance a unique result. The desired architectural solution is achieved by integrating the interior design into the conceptual phase; therefore, considering the project as a whole.
‘Situated on the island of Syros, Syros Summerhouse accommodates a couple and their various guests. The design process was defined by the clients’ desire to maximise views of the expansive Plagia Bay. The main intention was to unify the various spaces of the house under one roof facing the Aegean, without creating a massive volume; this resulted in a deconstructed rectangle with massive openings from all sides.’
The entrance to this unique series of structures is situated at the rear of the site, following a gentle descent through continuous miniature courtyards, planted with local aromatic herbs. The main volume houses the common areas, whereas the slightly higher volume, clad in local masonry, houses the couple’s private area. These volumes are set next to each other, under a united roof slab, facing the splendid vista of the bay.
Katja Margaritoglou adds: ‘The design of the guesthouses varied significantly, as the clients’ desire was the creation of spaces that could be both private and with constant access to the pool and outdoor area. The four guesthouses are situated in opposing parts of the site and benefit from distinct characteristics: those closer to the main house are intended for close friends and visitors, whereas those under the master bedroom enjoy a private entrance and can easily be rented.’
The exterior flow follows the topography of the landscape through a series of steps that define the outdoor areas and offer vast relaxation opportunities, either sheltered from the sun or entirely open. The guestroom common space under the roof slab was designed to be ‘the heart of the summerhouse’ a place near the hearth where all residents can relax and enjoy the Aegean.
The architects summarise on the success of this evocative build: ‘Simplicity, clean lines, the highest quality materials and special attention to details were key.’
For the full article see Habitat #268 November / December 2018
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