Bouca Houses

Bouca Houses
Five sustainable summer houses in Messenia, Greece
“We first throw a shadow on the earth... and in the pale light of the shadow we put together a house.” Tanizaki, Junichiro

The plot is located in a rural area on a natural hill above the sea. The composition is expressed by a single L-shaped cut, which forms an introverted protected terrace. Towards this end, the access to the plot is archetypically designed to develop spirally, from the bottom to the top. The residences are defined by three rigid shells that open to the sea and the view, while protecting the private habitat from the terrace’s noises and public character. These three strict outlines are brought together by a single, lightweight shades construction, which creates the necessary semi-open spaces for the building volumes to be released into the natural environment.

The semi-open spaces have a dual role. On the one hand, they maximize the living quarters, where habitats can spend the whole day, as they protect them from the intense solar radiation during the summer months. On the other hand, they act as an intermediate space between the private and the public space, bringing life to both the living quarters and the terrace. At the same time, semi-open spaces manage to create visual outlets towards the crops and the sea horizon.

A linear water zone is designed contrapuntally to the residencies. The water zone hosts a sheltered stopping area that concludes the centered character of the entire structure and marks the spiral upward course of entrance.Finally, a cluster of tall trees is placed at the center of the composition, aiming to organize the visitors’ movements and to improve the terrace’s microclimatic conditions.

Respecting to the agricultural character of the land and the struggle of the people who cultivate it, the study remains at a low building level, avoiding large structures and intense outbreaks is developed around the open space, highlighting the importance of in-between spaces to the Mediterranean life, as well as to the structure of building settlement.

The use of materials that are native to the site is preferred. The study attempts to remain faithful to the spirit of the minimal and the absolutely necessary, a spirit that has been shaping this countryside for centuries.

Location: Bouca, Messinia, Greece

Architects: P4architecture

Design Team: Konstantinos Pyliotis, Angeliki Chrisimou

Project Architect: Konstantinos Pyliotis

Architect Consultant: Alkiviadis Pyliotis 

Photography: STUDIOVD | Vavdinoudis-Dimitriou

Area: 320 m2 

Project Year: 2018

Project Type: Residential (Completed)