The House on the Cliff
NCaved House on the Serifos Island in Greece, designed by Mold Architects, is a residence carved out from the natural setting, celebrating the scenic views while keeping the interiors minimal and functional.
The residence seems to be carved out of the natural settings within the secluded rocky cove of Serifos island in Greece, hovering above sea level, and could even be mistaken to be part of the landscape. The architects have tackled the need to create a protected shelter, at a location of disarming view, that is openly exposed to strong north winds, by deciding to drill the slope, instead of arranging a set of spaces in line at ground level.
MOLD architects founded in 2011 by Iliana Kerestetzi integrates research and architecture with advanced computational designs and parametric designs to create several award-winning projects.
In this project the architects have played around a grid, Iliana says, “We applied a rectangular grid to the slope to produce a three-dimensional “chessboard” of solids and voids. This strict geometry is discontinued by the rotation of the last axis of the grid, which provides the living area with an ampler view. Shifting the axis intensifies the sense of perspective significantly, and thus the imprint of the residence appears minimised at the conceptual end of the ascent.”
The design is entirely fashioned from the site with longitudinal walls of the dry stone creating the vertical borders, which lead the visitor’s gaze to the horizon line.
“In contrast to the sturdy stone walls, the oblique facades are light, made of glass, and can open along their entire length. The front is fully open to the east view, while the rear windows frame indoor gardens, enhancing the airflow and letting light into the residence,” explains Iliana Kerestetzi.
A caved staircase connects the three levels externally and leads to the main entrance, located at the living room loft. This smooth descent into the interior of the house slowly reveals the initially hidden spaces of the house, while framing a two-sided view: a visual outlet to the sea during the descent, an outlet to the sky during the ascent.
The onlooker realises that the house is not just about the location but also about the discovery of the interiors, with each space leading to the other and broken through punctures of spaces which reveals the scenic views, all of which makes each reveal more melodramatic than the spaces within.
In-caved areas are the “negative” spaces, according to Iliana. She says, “They result from severing and removing part of the rock. This rough feeling of a natural cavity was what we aimed to recreate with our choice of materials and colour palette. Stone, exposed concrete, wood and metal are used with precision to create coarse inner shells.”
The natural lighting and ventilation with front and rear openings, the stone walls, the green roof together with the suitable insulation and energy-efficient glass panels add to NCAVED excellent bioclimatic features.
While the construction cost of the residence versus an above-ground construction is not significantly increased, according to the architects, the effect of the sculpted-out house has made this one of the most extra-ordinary houses of this decade.
NCAVED / Mold architects – Iliana Kerestetzi
Location: Ag. Sostis, Serifos Island
Gross area: 360m2
Site area: 6.000m2
Site supervision: Mold Architects
Year of completion: 2020
Architectural Design: Mold Architects –Iliana Kerestetzi
Consultant Architect: Manos Kerestetzis
Design Team: Iliana Kerestetzi, Konstantinos Vlachoulis, Michail Xirokostas
Structural Engineer: Studio 265
Mechanical Engineer: TEAM M-H
Lighting Design: Nikos Adrianopoulos
Construction: Mold architects & Thanos Vittas
Photographer 1 : Yiorgis Yerolymbos
Photographer 2 –Video : Panagiotis Voumvakis