Attached Multiple Residences for a single family in Varkiza-Attica 2009-13
An introvert residence, compatible with privacy-requesting clients, inferior surrounding urban fabric, and local building codes mandating roof and low rise construction of only up to 7.5m. Thus, covered by a shallow, uniquely detailed roof, stressing the horizontal direction and creating a naturally shaded and ventilated environment, opening into the garden and merging elegantly and gradually the interior with the open-covered space protected from the hot sun, a quite unconventional approach for European-Mediterranean architecture, let alone local customs.
Classical elegance and extreme flexibility by a combination of multiple small units to be combined into two completely independent residences with access from separate streets and impressive economy of space due to the limited buildable area, but mostly the requested ‘single residence’ appearance, was unusual.
Though this residential complex benefits from the classical order in terms of the main elevations, the layout of main spaces and the proportioning of all windows, it is also very modern in the indoors-outdoors gradual progression, the dominant protruding shallow roof, and the mostly quite abstracted detailing throughout
The very careful consideration of proportions, in volumes, elements, void to mass and precise geometry, in all external elements, that dress a residential complex of immense functional complexity in a regulated environment down to the most minute detail, offers a perspective of the challenges faced and the corresponding significance of the particular project. Legally a functional and flexible block of flats, with the appearance of a single residence. Minor discrepancies in chimney and fence completion and also in some interior finishes due to the economic crisis were experienced, hopefully temporal.
With the distinguished client being the top-most elected authority regarding real-estate in Europe, the benefits of elegant classicism had been favoured early-on. In addition, an unusual request for extremely flexible use, by small units that can be combined in more than one ways towards different larger residences, with parallel extreme economy of space. The owner’s familiarity with legal matters and the unpredictability of the state regarding the treatment of property-owners in Greece, both initiated and saw this approach through and was probably also responsible for the non-implementation of the approved swimming corridor in the garden. The dense set of programmatic requirements were met with yacht-like precision in the small individual properties (six plus communal spaces), leading to the most inventively shaped ‘low-rise block of flats’ ever in the history of world architecture.
The roof as dominant element designed with copper finishes visible from the top but also from below as a horizontal plane with detailed wood-work matched with marble floor patterns in the open spaces, and the functional density with in-out gradual progression, elevates the concept to an unprecedented degree of detailed implementation, unlike previous classic paradigms from Japan and early U.S. ‘prairie-house styled’ works. Exterior walls and most critical interior subdivisions were finished with solid, wet construction from plastered insulated brickwork, with the colour embedded naturally in the plaster, as coloured marble dust. No painting was needed in any exterior surface. Modern exceptionally coloured roof-tiles were selected to best express this extraordinary architectural statement. Prototypical modern detailing is evident throughout and quite consistently implemented in the dominant roof.