The family’s holiday house is on a 19 hectare piece of land with a 200m front on the sea. It is set in an olive grove with over 180 trees. On it are the ruins of a listed post-byzantine church built on a promontory jutting out into the Pagasitic gulf.
With the location where the house was built being inaccessible by road, which it still is by choice, construction presented many challenges. The house was kept to a minimum – only 80m². To reach it, one walks through a narrow ravine. It has very simple local materials and rudimentary insulation, even by the standards of 30 years ago when it was built. Everything had to be transported by mule from the nearest mud-road 150 metres away. By today’s standards it would get bottom marks for bioclimatic performance. But is this particular house really that bad from an environmental point of view? To build it, only one olive tree was cut. The lack of road meant that a pristine ravine, inside the property, could remain intact. Had a larger and more “normal” for this site house been built, with state-of-the-art bioclimatic design but cutting not one but more trees and constructing a service road through the ravine, can there be any doubt whether a smaller or a larger footprint have been made on the environment? Size finally mattered – the size of the house proper, the way it is accessed and the extent of external terracing.
The house is simple and was designed to become one with the environment. It has unpainted grey roughcast plaster on its external walls and grey local slates on the pitched roofs, both blending with the silver-grey olive leaves. Hand-cut timber members, blue sea and blue sky make up the rest.