A Greek villa made of stone, wood and iron
These are the words with which architects Anna Silibello and Sotirios Pietris from Milan-based practice ARCSP Studio sum up their restoration and extension project.
The holiday house is located in an area subject to archaeological regulations and at seismic risk in a town in the Attica region in the hinterland of Athens, close to Mount Hymettos and just 8 km from the western coast towards Cape Sounion. It occupies an area of around 500 sq.m with a main building, dating back to 1913, made from local stone sourced from the nearby hillside quarries. In keeping with local tradition, the layout consists of communicating rooms facing out onto the courtyard and garden via large French windows. The original building was completed by farm buildings and the home of the current owner’s grandparents, to which over the years some auxiliary buildings have been added without any regard for their architectonic compatibility with the main house.
In response to the owner’s desire to reorganise the spaces functionally without cancelling the memory of the complex’s history, the designers have eliminated all extensions and additions to the original nucleus and consolidated the stone walls in accordance with earthquake safety regulations. To underline their structural characteristics, the external plastering was cleaned off the original walls and the joints between the stones filled with mortar coloured with natural sand, to restore their original sandy yellow colour with red striations. In the interior, the wooden structure of the roof has been emphasised.
The owners wanted their holiday house to have four bedrooms with preferably private bathrooms, and an open space composed of the living room, dining area and kitchen, with an outdoors area to which all rooms would have equal access. The solution has been to dedicate the old central structure to the day area with intercommunicating spaces in a traditional layout, placing the master bedroom with bathroom at one end. The grandparents’ house, reconstructed with the original recovered stones, has been connected to the original house with a newly built wing which places the other bedrooms in a U-shape around the central garden.
To resolve the problem of constant exposure to the sun on two sides of the villa, the designers have installed a protective sunshade made by local craftsmen in iron with wooden slats. This sunshade covers an outdoors portico, which the open space living area and bedrooms open onto. In the summer, this highly contemporary patio is used as the lunch and relaxation area, and is connected to the entrance gate by pathways running through the garden. Another zone, delimited by walls constructed with the stones left over from the demolition work, is used as an outdoors shower and shielded from view by climbing plants.
The project has made continuity between the outdoors and indoors areas a central concern, achieved both by means of the large French windows and by using the same material for the interior and exterior flooring: large wood effect porcelain tiles in a grey sand colour, very similar to the colour of the sand of the western coast of Attica.
Ceramica Sant'Agostino, Nature series
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): E<0,5%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): minimo classe B
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): <175 mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): >35
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R9 - R11
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant