Plunge into the cityscape

Tuesday 27 Nov 2012

A ribbon defines spatial narrative revealing views

This 600 sq m private residence is located in Psychiko, a hilly low density suburb of Athens, on a 1000 sq m gently sloping site offering commanding views to the cityscape below. A chthonic core clad in grey stone and inspired by the imagery of the quarries of the Attica landscape houses the gallery for the owners' collection of vintage cars and modern art. An amphitheatric upper floor, conceived as a pair of binoculars kinking to frame city views, encompasses the private areas of the residence while a transparent and fluid living area occupies the space between them. These elements are strung together through a notional ribbon that circulates through the site and defines the spatial narrative, revealing views along its path.

This ribbon introduces you to the house through a compressed curving view which cuts through the stone wall that shelters the residence from the surrounding buildings to the south. It then opens to a view towards the intimate pool garden that offers an opportunity for a shared space with the neighbouring house.

Finally, as it becomes wider, it turns to form the living spaces of the residence which offer a dramatic expansive view to the Olympic Park below. The effect is like standing on the edge of a diving board ready to plunge into the cityscape.

As the opaque, linear, stone-clad boundary wall to the south peels away to create the outdoor pool space the sweeping move of the external wall is echoed by the swimming pool, a canal that connects the front and back of the house. Glazed partitions, skylights, and slatted blinds allow natural light to penetrate the living spaces and a series of cuts and slits in the sculptural facade bring the outside in.

The house is conceived and experienced as a series of surprises playing with light and scale while the design exploits the tension between conflicting elements - opaqueness and transparency, intimacy and openness, curves juxtaposed with angular geometry.

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