Greek architect Marilena Sifaki of CHOROS Sifakis Architects informs, “ The brief for the ‘Re-Sculpted’ project concerns the design of a nature enthusiastic couple’s summer house, which would be build within the ruins of two unified old stone cells that already exist in their acquired plot, having a total house area of 80m2. The plot has a total area of 2.500 acres and is located in the Greek island of Serifos, more specifically on top of the Vagia slope, with an open view towards one of the island’s most beautiful gulfs.”

Marilena Sifaki, CHOROS Sifakis Architects

“The clients specifically requested that the entirety of their summer home, both in its interior and exterior, would be designed in such a way that every space will enjoy as much of the view as possible. Moreover, the clients wished for their home to exist in complete harmony with the landscape, celebrating the natural beauty of their favourite island.”

Main Living Space with Entrance View

Following the clients’ wishes, a sculptural façade comes to life with the dichotomy of a large scale geological boulder found on site, aiming to design a summer house with a sculptural character that mimics the appearance of the Serifian rocks. Having as a point of reference this geological boulder, a decision was made to proceed with a unique technique where its surfaces were dichotomized and integrated both on the house’s façades and interior spaces, alongside other materials found on site such as cement mortar and Corten steel.

Master Plan

The ultimate goal is to create a project that is innovative and challenges architectural standards, while staying environmentally cautious by celebrating the natural sources of the landscape and staying true to the island’s unrefined aesthetics. However, the design approach and circumstances of this project led the CHΩROS Sifakis Architects team to face numerous challenges, both during the design and the construction process.

Exterior View looking towards the Gulf

“The first design challenge came from the need to build the structure within the ruins of the plot’s old stone cells as the floor plan was not only determined already, but also it had a narrow structure with no right angles. As such, it was very challenging to minimize these dead angles and create comfortable and functional spaces,” reveals Marilena Sifaki.

Main Living Space

She further adds, “The decision to use the large scale geological boulder to cover major parts of the house’s exterior and interior spaces, creating a sculptural form, proved to be another great challenge during construction. Initially, the issue of dichotomizing the boulder to create as much usable surface area as possible, while safely removing it from the site to begin the molding process was a very daunting task. This technique was new in the Greek architectural field and almost no construction company specialized in stones had the proper knowledge or equipment to accomplish this installation.”

Plan – Ground Floor

After numerous meetings with construction technicians, companies and even sculptors, the team innovatively was able to find the proper machinery and skillsets to make it all happen. CHΩROS Sifakis Architects’ team is dedicated in designing all projects to be environmental-friendly, which is why the ‘Re-Sculpted’ project has also been designed with impressive sustainability features.

Master Bedroom

Marilena Sifaki reveals, “Main sustainability features include, using this on site large geological boulder instead of destroying it or buying new outsourced materials, using locally sourced materials such as dry-stone and metal for the house’s cladding and outdoor areas; creating openings on all key façades to promote natural ventilation; design pergolas on all large openings to provide the house with natural shading; as well as building the house with thick stone walls that would help retain a cooler temperature; ultimately limiting the need for mechanical cooling. The last but not least, a strategy used throughout all of our projects is collecting rain water for the secondary needs of the house.”

Elegance of Master Bathroom

The elegance of design revolving around the geological boulder is where the project’s main creation is hidden with beauty. The use of said boulder does not only create a unique, refined and sculpturally natural aesthetic for the house, but also it played a key role in preserving the natural environment and making the home more sustainable.

Section and Elevations

Another key element reflecting the home’s elegance is its large Corten steel pergola. This pergola is made from locally sourced Corten steel and attached to the building’s main entrance, spanning across the main exterior lounge area. Not only does it act as a shading system, but also due to its shape as a boomerang, it frames the views towards the breathtaking landscape, thereby allowing the inhabitants to enjoy clear and open outlooks towards the beach, no matter where they are seated.

Guest Bedroom

Through the ‘Re-Sculpted’ project, the team is totally dedicated in creating new and exciting architecture, while staying true to the local character. Innovation does not have to be futuristically designed nor build with new or lab-made materials. Most of the times, the most inspiring and unique designs are created when architects utilize what is locally available to them. Challenging environments, architects strives the most as they are forced to think out-of-the-box, making the best use of existing circumstances and pre-existing landscape.

South-West Bird’s-Eye View

Image Courtesy: CHOROS Sifakis Architects

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