An aggregated landscape: House in Achladies ― 

The vacation house in Achladies, by Lydia Xynogala, uses “aggregation” as a generator of form and materiality. The textures and colors of the island of Skiathos are indexed, diluted and recomposed into a viewing apparatus, intensifying the impressions of the landscape. On a seaside location dotted with pine trees, the architect uses natural materials, such as stone or bare concrete, complemented by brown plaster-faced walls emulating the color of the local soil, a striking green terrazzo floor covering the entire surface, as well as intense splashes of cobalt blue in artworks and a discreet, smooth matte green-grey coating on the slender sliding frames, blending all the colors of the building and its surroundings into a singular hue.

Built in a sloping triangular site facing the sea, the house was conceived as a series of adjoining rooms, structured in-between linear retaining walls; those common elements in the surrounding Mediterranean landscape contain the ground and protect domestic life. Volumes at different elevations follow the topography, each one with a dedicated program.

The entrance to the property is located on the top of the site, from where a flight of steps continues the slope into the house, revealing the view. The configuration of spaces is barely visible from the outside: On the east and west, the property is flanked by a dirt road and neighboring buildings; those elevations are left without openings, for maintaining interior privacy and maximizing the views towards the sea.

Living spaces are placed at the center, with bedrooms on the sides, avoiding the use of corridors. People live together and alone, very close to each other. Rooms are oriented to the south, contemplating the changing impressions of sea from a frame; only one smaller room to the north opens towards the slope. Sliding doors are concealed inside solid concrete double walls, staging passages from one space to the next; grey marble at each threshold denotes this “cut”. The sea breeze passes through the sheared volumes, cross ventilating the house. Individual terraces have privacy, even if volumes are adjoining.

The idea of aggregation is elaborated in the linear, additive configuration of the rooms, in the aggregate visible on the raw concrete walls, in green terrazzo floor and on the roofs, covered in gravel and plants. in the interior, adjoining walls double up, containing desks, a bathroom sink, shelving and artwork display carved within. Other custom furniture is arranged along the centerline, in a dynamic sequence. Bespoke tiles on selected walls draw from traditional patterns, recreating a fabric discovered in local history books. Materials used here are very familiar in older Greek residential interiors: Terrazzo floor throughout the house, marble cladding and plaster render. This habitual material palette is used in spaces, forms and combinations that are, however, quite unfamiliar.


Architect: Lydia Xynogala, alos

Photography: Yiorgis Yerolymbos