Peninsula House is a timeless piece of Greek island architecture

Peninsula House, Atelier Bow-Wow’s latest collaboration with design-led property developer Oliaros, is a free-flowing, art-filled holiday home on the Greek island of Antiparos

Peninsula House in Antiparos, Greek islands, with swimming pool, white volumes and colourful furniture
Four seats designed by Studio Wieki Somers on one of Peninsula House’s many terraces. A pool meanders through the stone-clad property, which sits on an 86,000 sq m plot of seafront on the small island of Antiparos
(Image credit: Iwan Baan)

One word keeps coming up when Atelier Bow-Wow’s Yoshiharu Tsukamoto and property developer and entrepreneur Iasson Tsakonas discuss their latest venture: timeless. The project is Peninsula House, Tsakonas’ own holiday home on the small Greek island of Antiparos. His company, Oliaros, is already behind a project of 55 new villas set within the rough beauty of the Cycladic island – construction is still underway, with 29 villas already completed, but all are sold apart from two properties that will launch in 2023. The company has made a name for its design-led approach, working with architects such as 98-year-old Greek modernist Nicos Valsamakis, Sou Fujimoto and Bjarke Ingels Group to create houses to be let or sold. However, Peninsula is home to Tsakonas and his family (his wife, Argyro Pouliovali, is the founder of ARP, an emerging Athens studio and Greece’s 2022 entry to the Wallpaper* Architects Directory). 

Peninsula House is all white forms and outdoor terraces

The pool helps cool down a central courtyard space furnished with blue chairs by Martino Gamper and a marble table by ARP. The pool tiles were designed by architects Aires Mateus and produced by Viúva Lamego in Portugal 

(Image credit: Iwan Baan)

Peninsula House: the story

‘I bought the land in 2006, and selected the Atelier Bow-Wow design in 2008. I had always planned Peninsula to be my future family house. When I married Argyro, we checked out all the alternative options from Oliaros’ portfolio and agreed to keep Peninsula, making certain adjustments so it would work better for our family.’ Tsakonas has worked with Atelier Bow-Wow’s co-founders Tsukamoto and Momoyo Kaijima before, so they have a particularly smooth and synergetic working relationship. 

Peninsula’s design works within Oliaros’ property development approach, prioritising homes that are low-impact and work as part of a larger, well-considered masterplan, ultimately maintaining the island’s identity while converting it into a new architectural destination. Along the same lines, this is not only a thoroughly contemporary home, but also a piece of architecture that remains in meaningful dialogue with its context, and respectfully nods to the spartan nature of the region’s traditional Greek architecture.

Peninsula House in Greece

The roof terrace features a backlit circular table 

(Image credit: Iwan Baan)

‘This is the first house we have designed on the island – and the third built,’ Tsukamoto says. ‘I have been there many times. I enjoy the Mediterranean lifestyle and architecture, especially the vernacular architecture that comes out from this harsh environment. It’s beautiful, but it’s not gentle nature. And I appreciate Iasson’s idea to preserve the landscape by developing properties distanced from each other – all are somehow coordinated, there is consistency.’ Atelier Bow-Wow’s ongoing fascinations and research into local construction methods, materials and techniques feed into this project, as it draws loose parallels between simple and yet detail-driven Japanese architecture and the Cycladic vernacular. 

colourful chairs at Peninsula House

Chairs by Waka-Waka and a Philippe Starck coffee table. The terrace’s marble pattern is inspired by gyosho calligraphy and Japanese garden design. ‘The reference is the pavement at Kyoto’s Katsura Imperial Villa,’ explains Tsukamoto 

(Image credit: Iwan Baan)

The house comprises two volumes, brought together by a careful composition of outdoor areas with the help of celebrated Athens landscape architecture firm Doxiadis+. There is a serpentine network of terraces, al fresco seating areas, open-air circulation routes and a very important water element in the shape of a long swimming pool that connects the property’s two stone volumes. ‘Central to Atelier Bow-Wow’s response was the water canal connecting and running through the “ruin”, the open-air BBQ pavilion, and “the village”, the family building, which I immediately bought into,’ says Tsakonas. While the pandemic meant that the architects were not able to visit the site as much as they’d like, local architect Stefanos Nassopoulos and the Oliaros technical team head Christos Kaklamanis helped make sure everything was finished to high standards. 

dusk on the terrace at Peninsula House

The Peninsula terrace with its water element

(Image credit: Iwan Baan)

The Peninsula House interiors

Inside, the whitewashed walls and light concrete floors are complemented by Tsakonas’ extensive collection of art and design. An avid collector, Tsakonas started purchasing pieces while working in real estate in Azerbaijan. When he returned to Athens to set up Oliaros in 2001, his passion for collecting grew, resulting in an extensive mix of contemporary art, design, ceramics and Azeri rugs totalling over 500 pieces. Here, the furniture and art blend together seamlessly, uniting new and heritage pieces in a mix that feels effortless and transcends eras. 

Peninsula House interiors with black fireplace

The living room features a sculpture by Oscar Tuazon, a bar by Ilias Lefas, a dining table by José Zanine Caldas, a games table by Sergio Rodrigues, and an artwork by Mindy Shapero 

(Image credit: Iwan Baan)

The terrace’s marble pattern is a good example of this. The architects drew on traditional Japanese gardens and calligraphy, and the result brings to mind the work of Greek architect Dimitris Pikionis, who worked on the landscaping around the Acropolis in the 1950s, and was similarly inspired by Japanese garden traditions. ‘I want Peninsula House to be an example of contemporary Greek architecture with a Japanese hand – not showy, not about statements,’ adds Tsakonas. ‘The statement is simply its timeless elegance, irrespective of scale.’  

Peninsula House on Greek island Antiparos, from a distance

(Image credit: Iwan Baan)

swimming pool in Greek island house

(Image credit: Iwan Baan)

water element at Peninsula House, a night-time

The pergola above the parking space is covered with solar panels using the best orientation for optimum efficiency 

(Image credit: Iwan Baan)

A version of this article appears in the December 2022 issue of Wallpaper*, available in print, on the Wallpaper* app on Apple iOS, and to subscribers of Apple News +. Subscribe to Wallpaper* today 

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).

With contributions from