The brief – as set by Wallpaper magazine - was for a design in a plot of the architect's 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 brief, the house is organized on a single level, thus allowing for maximum layout flexibility. The rectangular plan runs along the East-West axis, with living spaces facing south and 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 in the ground, with the glazed south elevation being the only one exposed. Moveable external stone-clad panels mimic the site's existing retaining walls and filter the sunlight.
The environmental strategies combine solar gains, protection from the excess sunshine and natural ventilation. The three earth-coupled stone walls of the house allow the house to benefit from the ground’s thermal inertia, while a planted horizontal roof slab acts as a green roof that can incorporate solar heating.
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