Wednesday, 3 December 2014

New Architecture: Mirage House on the Island of Tinos, Greece

“We wanted to make a house fused with its surroundings, a hidden almost invisible oasis.The rimless pool makes it seem as if the water extends to the horizon, vanishing and merging with the seascape," says architect Stelios Kois (pictured above).

A spectacular new house being built on the rocky coastline of Greece’s Tinos Island will have an enormous, sparkling rooftop pool that appears to merge with the Aegean sea beyond, writes Jeanne-Marie Cilento. Additional reporting from Greece by Antonio Visconti

ARCHITECT Stelios Kois was born near Mount Athos amid the wild landscape of red earth, dotted with monasteries full of Byzantine icon paintings. This mystical environment plus his university studies in Italy and Japan influenced his vision of architecture and predeliction for a purity of design that expresses spatial and spiritual serenity.

Kois Associated Architects' new project is located on the rocky south-west coastline of the Island of Tinos in the Cyclades. Known as the Island of the Madonna, Tinos is the greatest centre of pilgrimage in Greece. Among the rugged, rocky terrain are more than 40 white, picturesque stone villages. There are also more than a thousand churches amid the hills and valleys as well as thousands of dovecotes and windmills and kilometres of dry stonewalls that make this landscape unique.

Called Mirage, the house designed by Stelios Kois is situated on a steep, rocky site overlooking the Aegean Sea. The position commands panoramic views of the land and water. “Our goal is to integrate the building into the landscape like it is part of it,’’ says Kois. “The living space will be covered by a rimless pool that produces a visual effect of water extending to the horizon, vanishing and merging with the seascape.”

As you approach the house from above you will only be able to see the sparkling water of the infinity pool seemingly becoming one with the sea. During the day, the water will reflect the surrounding rock formations and at night the stars in the sky.

“We wanted to make a house fused with its surroundings, an invisible oasis hidden from unsuspecting eyes,” says Kois. "The house is almost like an observation point as it clings to the rocks and oversees the dramatic cascading landscape.”

The building is being constructed from local materials using traditional techniques such as the characteristic dry wall construction found on the island. Like the rooftop pool, the stone parts of the house will also merge into the surrounding rocky landscape.

Hidden in the stony landscape, the Mirage house will be an oasis where the owners can enjoy the wide-ranging views over the Aegean Sea without giving up their privacy. Kois decided to bury part of the building in the coastline. He created a large open-air living room at the front sheltered beneath the rooftop pool, which will act as a huge mirror and help camouflage the building among its surroundings.

"Some of our clients' major concerns were visibility and privacy," says project architect Nikos Patsiaouras. "At first we were concerned with the concept of invisibility. We asked ourselves 'How can you make a building disappear?'. Our response was to mimic elements of the landscape. The effect of the mirroring of the pool in combination with the concept of invisibility brought to mind the visual phenomenon of the mirage, from which the project was named," he says. Dry stone walls will surround sections of the interior and also frame the building's entrance. These are designed to echo the traditional walls that can be seen all over the scenic island.

"The elements that stirred our imagination most were the linear drywall constructions that articulate the landscape and the scattered shallow concrete water-reservoirs used for agricultural purposes," Patsiaouras explains. Also using the area’s stone will have a low impact on the environment and will be very efficient as an insulating material. Kois plans to add rammed-earth walls around the rear of the building, with layers of vegetation that will help to create a cool internal environment.

As the house is located on a natural plateau, inside it will have 200 square metres of space forming a simple single-storey layout, including three bedrooms, a kitchen and an outdoor living room.

Click on photographs for full screen slideshow
Called Mirage, the house designed by Stelios Kois is situated on a steep, rocky site overlooking the Aegean Sea. The position commands panoramic views of the land and water.  


"We asked ourselves 'How can you make a building disappear?'. Our response was to mimic elements of the landscape. The effect of the mirroring of the pool in combination with the concept of invisibility brought to mind the visual phenomenon of the mirage, from which the project was named," says Nicos Patsiaouras.


"The elements that stirred our imagination most were the linear drywall constructions that articulate the landscape and the scattered shallow concrete water-reservoirs used for agricultural purposes," project architect Nick Patsiaouras explains. 

As you approach the house from above you will only be able to see the sparkling water of the infinity pool seemingly becoming one with the sea. During the day, the water will reflect the surrounding rock formations and at night the stars in the sky. 




The building is being constructed from local materials using traditional techniques such as the characteristic dry wall construction found on the island. Like the rooftop pool, the stone parts of the house will also merge into the surrounding rocky landscape. 


Kois decided to bury part of the building in the coastline. He created a large open-air living room at the front sheltered beneath the rooftop pool, which will act as a huge mirror and help camouflage the building among its surroundings.





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