Mold Architects has completed NCaved house on the Serifos island in southern Greece. The site is located next to a rocky cove with views of the sea stretching up to the horizon. It was the outstanding views from the site and prevailing strong winds from the north, which led to the decision to insert the house into the slope.
"The need to create a protected shelter, at a location of disarming view, but openly exposed to strong north winds, led us to the decision to drill the slope, instead of arranging a set of spaces in line at ground level." Explains Iliana Kerestetzi, founder of Mold Architects.
The house organization responds to the views, and the architects create three-dimensional 'chessboard' of solid and voids by applying a rectangular grid to the slope. This organization helps open up the house to the spectacular views, especially in the living room where rotating the last grid creates a strong sense of perspective. This move on the part of the architects visually minimizes the building footprint.
"Shifting the axis intensifies the sense of perspective significantly, and thus the imprint of the residence appears minimized at the conceptual end of the ascent." Explains Lliana Kerestetzi.
The house features several stepped terraces where internal space can spill over by opening the glass facades. Another critical design decision is the internal courtyard gardens on multiple levels framed by the internal windows enhancing the airflow and letting light into the residence. The fully openable facade along with rear gardens helped circulate the strong northern winds through the house.
The internal spaces evoke calmness in contrast to the barren and rocky landscape of the island. The decision to keep structural stone walls exposed and timber in the interior creates a palette of natural materials complementing each other
"In-caved areas are conceptualized as 'negative' spaces. They result from excavating and removing part of the rock. This rough feeling of a natural cavity was what we aimed to recreate with our choice of materials and colours palette. Stone, exposed concrete, wood and metal are used with precision to create coarse inner shells." Explains Iliana Kerestetzi.
An internal staircase connects all three levels externally and leads to the main entrance, located in the living room. This smooth descent into the interior slowly reveals the home's initially hidden spaces while framing a two-sided view: a visual outlet to the sea during the descent and an outlet to the sky during the ascent.
Inserting the house into the slope also has thermal benefits, significantly reducing heating and cooling loads. Other sustainability features in the house include improving daylighting in residence through rear openings and full front glass façade. Green roof and stone walls increase the insulation, and energy-efficient glass panels add to NCAVED excellent energy-efficiency features.
MOLD architects are founded in 2011 by Iliana Kerestetzi I M.Sc in Advanced Architectural Design I Columbia University I NY 2009 I Their practice integrates research, architecture, landscape, advanced computational design, parametric design, graphic design, interior design, construction, visual arts. Their work has been included in group exhibitions and received various awards and distinctions
Location: Ag. Sostis, Serifos Island
Gross area: 360 sqm
Site area: 6.000 sqm
Construction: Mold Architects
Architectural Design: Mold Architects –Iliana Kerestetzi
Consultant Architect: Manos Kerestetzis
Design Team: Iliana Kerestetzi, Konstantinos Vlachoulis, Michail Xirokostas
Structural Engineer: Studio 265
Mechanical Engineer: TEAM M-H
Lighting Design: Nikos Adrianopoulos
Construction: Mold architects