Bohol: Natural shimmer at the Glade House by Potiropoulos+Partners ―
The new project by Potiropoulos+Partners in Peania, at the northeastern outskirts of Athens, designs a sequence of experiences in the landscape combining rough, almost untreated materials, in a typology that opens to the future: Maintaining only the essential features of a house, the building shape and limits soften to accommodate yet unforeseen uses and needs, blending into the landscape while the architecture relies more upon the use of advanced technology.
The design relies on the elaboration of gestures that consider the building and its surroundings as more than a “function”; rather, the house is conceived as an accumulation of interactive experiences. The building mass develops along a meandering line that creates the first limit, while the second, in counterpoint, is an outcome of the landscaping. In-between, the open-air intermediate space is contained as the spatial canvas upon which a travel experience begins to unfold.
Most of the building materials are left untreated and bear the imprint of natural formations: The “hard”, outer surface, in bare concrete with visible board formwork, is ornate in the organic shapes of wood in micro-scale, while the openings are designed in the same spirit, often becoming curved to recreate the same organic feel. On the side of the garden, the building skin becomes softer, and the entire face is clad in slatted vertical wooden strips that keep their natural appearance. The metal elements are protected in powder coating color, whose choice was made very carefully, to remain consistent with the same compositional approach, without missing out on its intense character.
Bohol powder coating, from the Futura Collection 2018-21 of AkzoNobel, is a brilliant, smooth metallic color of a light brown, earthen hue. Its exotic name and its color properties allude to an enchanting location of wild nature in the Philippines: the Bohol “Chocolate Hills”. The Bohol island complex, a popular Southeast Asia destination, is marked by light brown limestone formations, with minerals that shimmer under the sun. At the Chocolate Hills, a celebrated location that will soon be a UNESCO natural site, the soft brown color of the landscape perpetually changes and becomes greener as the tropical vegetation grows, covering the gentle slopes of the landscape. In its own way, color, combined with the hues of concrete and wood, participates in the spatial “travel” staged in Peania by the architects.
If there is one space belonging to the housing typology that remains constant, and globally relevant, this is the courtyard: an archetypal place of gatherings, full of memories and expectations. In Peania, a location that remains largely unbuilt, in-between tree lines and plantations, the courtyard is substituted with the “forest clearing”. According to Heidegger, only inside a home aligned with nature can man be “in-the-world”, securely connected. “We ought to build in the same way that we cultivate the land” he argues, “…we can only dwell in the country, rooted in the ground, in the familiar memory”.
In our days, architecture needs to confront a pressing issue of “flexibility”, in the sense of a transition from the current status, where the building relies on “conventional” data, to a future one, when the house will need to function according to presently unforeseen parameters, resulting from the rapid progress in science and technology. All this points to an “indeterminate” architecture, yet unencountered. The “Glade House” provides the opportunity to research into possible analogies and relations introduced into architectural design from “other”, more flexible systems of spatial organization.
The architectural “idea” gives three-dimensional form to all those considerations, perceived as narrative condensers, each one with its own texture, gravity, temperature, and acoustic quality – features that are not abstract but a concrete experience. This way, the building mediates between the user and nature, it becomes a dynamic field where multiple approaches intersect. The “Glade House” draws limits, divides and connects, generates space. From side to side of the space, in a constant, immersive present, lies the human element.
Architecture: Potiropoulos+Partners Architecture
Color: Bohol Metallic Matt D2525 | Code: Y2212I
3D Visualization: Batis 3d Design Studio