Cross House

Cross House
A vacation house in Messenia, Greece
"Maybe this is the house where I lived when I did not exist, when the earth did not exist, when everything was moon or stone or shadow, when the motionless light had yet to rise. Maybe then this stone was my house, my windows or my eyes. It reminds me, this granite rose, of something that inhabited me or that I inhabited, cave or cosmic head of dreams, cup or castle or ship or source of my beginning. I touch the rock’s tenacious effort, its bulwark beaten in the brine, and I know that here remain my crevices, the wrinkled substance that climbed from the depths to my soul— I was stone, will be stone. That is why I touch this stone, and for me it has not died: it’s what I was, what I will be, rest from a battle as long as time." Pablo Neruda

The Cross House is a residence designed and constructed on a steep mountain slope overlooking the Pylos lagoon. The plot, with its oblong shape and southwest orientation, only allows access to the building from the narrow southeast side.

The fundamental design principle revolves around two intersecting concrete axes that traverse and organize the entire plot, forming the structural framework of the building. Accompanying these axes are two parallel concrete slabs that elegantly slide above, creating optimal living conditions within the spaces.

The longitudinal axis serves as a unifying element, connecting all areas while delineating the central courtyard. On the other hand, the transverse axis separates the central living area from the private section of the residence, including the bedrooms and office rooms, both inside the building and in the courtyards. Additionally, it defines a sheltered northern courtyard, providing a cool and shaded retreat during the summer months.

Throughout the design process, great emphasis has been placed on the relationship between the building and the natural surroundings, as well as the seamless integration of interior and exterior spaces. Consequently, the residence is structured on two levels, accommodating the 1.2-meter height difference and harmonizing with the topography and slope of the plot.

Every space within the residence enjoys direct access to the natural environment, facilitated by expansive sliding glazing systems that seamlessly merge the interior with the courtyards. The integration is further enhanced by large cantilever slabs, creating intermediate spaces that provide shade and a smooth transition between the indoor and outdoor areas.

While the view of the sea is a fundamental aspect of the design, it is artfully incorporated within the composition. The two robust axes frame or momentarily conceal the sea view, strategically revealing it when desired.

The chosen construction materials include uncoated concrete, rough plaster, and wood, creating a tactile and organic aesthetic that blends harmoniously with the surrounding landscape.

Location:Pyla, Messinia, Greece

Architects: P4architecture 

Design Team: Alkiviadis Pyliotis, Konstantinos Pyliotis

Project Architect: Konstantinos Pyliotis

Contributors: Aimilios Kourafas, Angeliki Chrisimou, Chrysothemis Kouloumenta, Foteini Kallikouni

Structural Engineer: Alkimos Papathanassiou _ EPILYSI

Mechanical Engineer: Sourilas Konstantinos (KNS engineering consultants)

3D Visualization:  Aimilios Kourafas, Apostolis Kassios

Area: 180 m2

Project Year: 2016

Project Type: Residential – Private House (Completed)