The brief – as set by Wallpaper magazine - was for a design in a plot of our choice for a standalone house set in a rural location. The key characteristics of the design should combine low energy consumption with a flexible interior layout in terms of internal plan and adaptability and a simple & affordable construction.
The site chosen is located on a terraced hillside north of the city of Nafplio, Greece. It has a south orientation and a rather steep inclination of about 25%, which is however visually alleviated by the presence of earth terraces formed by stone retaining walls.
In response to the given brief the house is organized on a single floor, thus allowing for maximum flexibility in terms of layout. The rectangular plan runs along the East-West axis, with all living spaces facing south and the utility spaces placed along the north side.
Aiming to integrate the manmade building into the natural environment, both in visual and climatic terms, the volume of the building is buried in the ground, with the glazed south elevation being the only one exposed.
The environmental strategies combine solar gains, protection from the excess sunshine and natural ventilation.
The stone retaining wall folds inwards, defining the three earth-coupled stone walls of the house and allows the house to benefit from the ground’s thermal inertia. Finally, a planted horizontal slab acts as a green roof that can incorporate solar heating.