Responding to the sloping coastline of the Greek island of Skiathos via form and elevation, Achladies House is a modern evolution of Mediterranean architecture and Greek craftsmanship. Conceived as a summer holiday home, architect Lydia Xynogala created three volumes – a master suite, communal area and guest house – built using solid retaining walls, used typically across the region.
The shape of the architecture follows the natural topography of the site, with the parallel volumes varying in elevations in response to the landscape, and south-facing rooms opening up to framed views of the Aegean. While the landscape inspired Xynogala, it also tested her: ‘It was a big challenge to juggle complex zoning requirements on an irregular trapezoidal site that is located on a steep slope,’ she says.
The plan is inclusive to visiting family members and friends. The living spaces are positioned in the central volume and sliding doors, which cut through the double concrete walls, offer the option to connect – or disconnect – the adjoining rooms. When needed, private terraces slotted into the suites allow for a moment alone with the landscape.
‘We poured small strips of the terrazzo and set them between the components of the sliding door tracks,’ says Xynogala. Photography: Yiorgis Yerolymbos
Xynogala arranged built-in furniture, storage, sinks and desks along the centreline of the plan, forging them into the design of the house and working with local Greek craftsmen. ‘I really enjoyed using their traditional craft skills and transcending them into modern design,’ she says of the process.
‘I was interested to use materials that are very familiar in older Greek residential interiors such as terrazzo floors, which are present throughout the house inside and outside, as well as marble and plaster render, but using them in spaces, forms and combinations that are not so familiar.’