The helix villa. Antiparos design properties, Oliaros Project. Antiparos island, Greece.

Lately I had focused my research in greek contemporary architecture (contemporary means after the 1920s actually !!!)…. well, amongst others, that I have saved and promise to publish later on, I couldn’t help but notice these phenomenal little architectural complexes in the middle of dry land. And when we speak of dry, sterile land in Greece it’s not a bad thing necessarily, because we are talking about the Cyclades.

Seraching deeply, I came across with an unexpected, very interesting surprise. All of these small projects make part of a big undergoing project of design houses in the island of Antiparos. Brilliant idea, take a heavenly island location, add an enthusiastic, ambitious and very architecturally-minded young developer (Iasson Tsakonas), as well as a range of internationally acclaimed architects and you get the extraordinary development that is the Antiparos Design Properties project.

It all started when businessman and art enthusiast Iasson Tsakonas of Oliaros developments visited the tiny island of Antiparos almost ten years ago, in search of the right location for his dream holiday home. He chanced upon the minuscule Antiparos, a short boat ride away from the larger and more popular Paros Island in the middle of the Aegean, and the idea was born.
But Tsakonas didn’t just sit back and dream. He quickly started drafting the Antiparos Design Property plan for 24 residences, kicking off collaborations with architects Tala Mikdashi – a former Renzo Piano staffer – and childhood friend-and-Berkley alumni, Alexandros Vaitsos of Deca Architecture. Also realising that the landscape would play an integral part in the project, Tsakonas asked for help from Athens-based landscape specialist Thomas Doxiadis of Doxiadis+

The scheme was planned for execution in different stages, with the first – comprising Tsakonas’ own house, six more properties and the overall layout of the development – completing in 2005/6. Pulling in prominent names of local and international contemporary architecture, including Atelier Bow Wow, Harry Gugger, Fuhriman Haehler and Andreas Angelidakis, the second stage is planned to complete between 2010 and 2012.

The full roll call of Greek architects involved in the development spans several generations – including acclaimed modernist Nikos Valsamakis, established architect Katerina Tsigarida and young talents like Deca. But Tsakonas has balanced these with a healthy assembly of international names too.

So I decided to open up this group of houses with the one I found first…. hm, this is not even true, but I didn’t know it since 2 hours ago. Remember the Aloni villa, by Deca architects? (if not, here it is: ) . That’s correct, Aloni villa, this fine example of camouflage architecture, makes part of the “Antiparos Design Properties”.

Before present the next house, I would only like to make a list with all the nominations and awards this incredible project had won:

Best Private Plots 2012: Honorable Mention

Piranessi Award 2009: Winner Commended

Hellenic Architectural Awards 2008: Finalist

Awards for Emerging Architecture 2004 and 2010: Commended







The next, out of a long list of 12 houses, is the Helix Villa:

From the architect: “Situated in a protected valley, on a subtle slope between two hills, the site directs views westwards to the sunset and the sea. The house has been conceived as a spiral, rotating around a courtyard framing the west sea view, with the swimming pool ‘sliding’ under the upper part of the spiral which ends on a dramatic cantilever.”

From the owner: “Helix is placed on a property that gradually slopes towards the beach. The descending hills frame a stunning view into the Aegean forming the axis of the pool. The house is a constructed helix that twists over the pool carving into the landscape and stepping down the slope. The interaction of the helix with the existing landscape creates a rich variety of spatial circumstances and experimental situations. A path following the contours of the landscape curves towards the entrance. The approach reveals the top of the helix, a volume which defies gravity. The center of activity of the house is the interior courtyard flanked by the living room, the dining area and the kitchen.The dining table lies on axis with the swimming pool enjoying the view that is framed by the helix bridging over the swimming pool. The bedrooms are located away from the interior courtyard. Two rooms are located on the first floor forming the volume of the helix that passes over the pool. The remaining three rooms are located on the ground floor. All rooms
have private verandas that seem to be stepping down towards the sea.”

ARCHITECTS: A. Vaitsos, C. Loperena, M. Doxa & K. Gudsell
DEVELOPER: Oliaros s.a.

Sources: Antiparos Design Properties, Oliaros Project, archdaily, deezer, Maria Doxa, Doxiadis+,, wallpaper magazine

Photos:, Maria Doxa architects

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