On the Cycladic island of Syros, a stone house is set into a steep hillside overlooking the Aegean Sea. The geometry of the building follows that of the landscape, mimicking the stone retaining walls typical of the Greek island.
The 5,000-square-foot house is built on the boundary between a green, traditional settlement and a barren mountainside. Constructed of slate and marble stone excavated from the surrounding countryside, the structure consists of three vertically stacked single-story levels, with three guest rooms on the lower level, the master suite on the entry level, and kitchen, dining, living, and storage spaces above. Each level has access to the outdoors.
The architects designed the house to relate to the landscape and make the most of the sculptural qualities of light. The rough shell’s exterior softens as one enters the building, where dimly lit hallways gradually lead to a brightly illuminated core.
The house also minimizes energy use with planted roofs and thick stone walls that keep the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. (The walls consist of 16-inch-thick masonry on the outside, two inches of insulation in the middle, and 3.5-inch-thick brick wall on the inside.) Rainwater is collected in a cistern for household use. The house was completed in March 2011.
Photos: Erietta Atalli