Summer House Katakalou

Private Summer House.
Skopelos island, Greece, 2021, 230 m2

Under construction.

In Katakalou we want to create a contemporary building that preserves as much of the natural beauty of the site as possible. Barely visible, based on traditional values of Greek building.

The sober and straight lines contrast nicely with the landscape, but at the same time the building remains subservient and overshadowed by the mountainous and wooded terrain.

Through the use of simple on-site poured concrete and locally produced hardwood as the main building material, built by local workers, the ecological footprint is very minimal. The entire construction is carried out in a small-scale and local way.

Two inconspicuous but imposing pieces of concrete in the same colour and texture as the rocks that embrace it…

The house itself is organised around two routes. The first is external and naturally divides the building in two, leading from the monopati above and down to the waterfront. The other is internal: the two buildings each have a staircase starting at the roof terrace and ending in a central undergrounnd toplit gallery, connecting the two in a rather dramtic way.

The buildings emerge out of the landscape and open up towards the sea. Large floor-to- ceiling windows at the front provide a great sense of space and enrich the spaces with ever- changing shades of this marine panorama. Sun blinds at the front in floor-to-ceiling traditional shutters, counteract the warming of the interior and at the same time create a traditional brushstroke, a reference to the traditional wooden extensions in Glossa and Skopelos.

The rather closed side walls have small openings. These small openings can be closed with shutters made from the waste wood used to form the concrete. The cement veil on these shutters ensures that the shutters blend seamlessly and subtly into the fa├žade.

The native local plants around the house will be allowed to grow relatively untamed, so that both structures will appear to have receded into the surrounding landscape. Quite deliberate, this encroachment allows it to play off the ambiguity afforded by its apparent, almost camouflaged, invisibility from the outside looking in, and the expanse and totality of the views it provides from inside its rooms looking out.

There is an atmosphere of great sobriety in this house. By simple construction, the accent here is on the surroundings and the infinite view and not on the building.