Alfa Vagia Beach Houses / Zapantiotis Fotis Associated Architects
- region :
500 square meters
Manufacturers: FlaminiaAnd the Lite PlusAnd the Los LightingAnd the snow formulations
Text description provided by the architects. The study concerns the completion of three distinct holiday residences in an existing complex located on Vagia Beach in Serifos. The intervention centered around restoring the relationship between the buildings and the natural topography, as they were initially constructed at a higher level than permitted, in order to avoid the rise in the groundwater level in the area. Thus, the ground floor remained isolated from the surrounding environment, while the buildings appeared starkly separate and exposed in relation to the natural terrain.
The large elevation difference was scaled towards the beach by two successive landings, with the aim of improving the complex’s visibility from the sea. The ground level of each dwelling responds to a shaded porch of the same level, before terminating at a spacious, low-level porch, oriented to the west and the view.
The western terraces either act as retaining walls, in the form of solid, cubic formations, or lead, as slabs, to the dry stone retaining walls surrounding the entire composition. The use of sand-coloured bush-hammered concrete gives the verandahs the feel of a solid, natural material that improves its integration into the landscape.
The intervention then focused on creating intermediate spaces, interior patios, and elements that were absent from the initial study, but considered essential to the proper function and use of summer residences.
Filtering the general movement inward, this transitional space provides the residences with an additional outdoor space, an introspective courtyard lively for the social lives of the users, a typical aspect of Cycladic architecture. Thus, each dwelling gains its own enclosure, with inner courtyards, intermediate spaces and open terraces aligned with the view.
The “linear wall” element forms the patios. The linear walls are built from local dry stone, following the three tenement design axes, to bring back the concept of a ‘solid boundary’ which was absent from the initial design. The boundaries of the stone wall, in their entirety and voids, are defined at the back of the residences, which act as a protection against the strong winds of the area, but also as a primary filter separating the public from the private space of the homes, thus ensuring the necessary privacy for the user.
The water element is used through the fountain in the middle of a communal courtyard that becomes a point of reference for the complex. Moving from the central entrance up slightly within the perimeter, the pedestrian gradually gains a view of the space, intensifying the element of surprise, to end up in this low-level courtyard located centrally in the composition, where all the action begins.
Movement axes, linear walls, planting, water elements, and seating areas become the core elements of the composition, dynamically contrasting new additions with pre-existing building structures. The materials, local stone, red sand-colored concrete from the excavations, and metal constructions integrate the complex into the surrounding environment and serve as a reference to Serifos’ mining tradition.