Mani Residences

Mani Residences
Three vacation houses in Mani, Greece
"The necessary, the indispensable, the useful, only leaving space for the arbitrary and the superfluous to be absent." D. Pikionis

This project explores the principles of Mani architecture as it has evolved through its long history, which is closely related to its intense rocky topography, available materials, and construction techniques. An architecture intimately connected to the earth, where forms and proportions emerge from the intrinsic materiality and the inherently strict structure of the minimal. Stone, wood, and earth harmoniously compose in the spirit of the essential, meeting functional needs with the least possible material and effort.

The composition seeks to preserve these principles, attempting to apply them in the present to create three distinct vacation houses that address contemporary needs.

The linear plot with a southwestern orientation is characterized by steep terrain, an entrance at the northern end, and traces of the traditional threshing floor at the southern end. The composition can be described in three distinct synthetic gestures.

The first synthetic gesture involves integrating the entrance with the traditional threshing floor, which is restored and transformed into a communal space for the small residential complex. As a straight line parallel to the steep terrain, the path organizes movements and acts as a backbone in the composition’s structure.

The residences, distinct and directly related to the path, maintain the scale and dimensions found prominently in the historic settlements of Mani. The first two residences – of the same typology – with proportions of 1:3 (“makrynari”: longhouse), are placed parallel to the path and the slope of the plot, minimizing excavations on site.

The third architectural volume, with the same proportions, is positioned perpendicular to the path, defining it while simultaneously opening towards the south, preserving its privacy.

In both incisions, the triptych of the Mediterranean dwelling is distinct: the inside – the outside – and the in-between. The typology is developed around the semi-outdoor space, emphasizing the importance of the “in-between” in Mediterranean life and the structure of each residence. Large glass surfaces connect each residence either with the semi-outdoor space or with an organized courtyard with a small pool near the natural ground level. Large horizontal shades protect them from southern radiations, while vertical shades on the façade protect them from western ones and ensure the privacy of each space.

The composition attempts to reinterpret the historic residential architecture of Mani—not in its morphological expression as a nostalgic image, but in the values and principles that created it. It avoids mimicking traditional buildings, using the least possible material and effort to meet the functional needs of contemporary living minimizing the footprint in the rocky Mediterranean landscape.

Location: Mani, Messenia

Architects: P4architecture

Design Team: Alkiviadis Pyliotis, Evangelos Fokialis, Konstantinos Pyliotis 

Project Architect: Konstantinos Pyliotis

Structural Engineer Consultant: Nikolaos Loumakis

Contributors: Angeliki Chrysimou, Chrysothemis Kouloumenta, Panayiota Kyriakou

3D Visualization: blankwall.avs

Interior Design Consultant: Andreas Petropoulos

Mechanical Engineer Consultant: Sourilas Konstantinos (KNS engineering consultants)

Photography: STUDIOVD | Vavdinoudis-Dimitriou

Area: 220 m2

Project Year: 2017

Project Type: Commission (Completed) 

Status: Built