House in Filothei, Athens

The 400 sq.m. family house was built in a 640 sq.m., rather narrow rectangular plot (16 meters wide by 40 meters long) in a residential neighbourhood of the northern suburbs of Athens. In order to comply with local planning regulations requiring 4 meters clearance at each side, the building is limited to a width of 8 meters. Furthermore, with a relatively large three storey apartment building on one side of the plot and the future possibility of another apt. building on the other side, the design was also challenged in the issue of privacy.

It was decided to divide the house into two separate, equally sized cube-shaped structures, arranged one behind the other, creating a central open courtyard with an olive tree in between, to serve as the focal point of the house. The rather simple cubical composition results in the visual down-scaling of the total volume. At the same time, openings on the side facades, facing the proximate neighbours, could be limited -daylight is ensured by the central courtyard windows.

The layout has been kept equally simple and ordered. Bedrooms have been arranged on the upper floor, while living areas on the ground-floor. Master-bedroom suite in the front cube, children’s wing in the back cube – living room to the front, kitchen and dining at the back. As the land slopes downwards, basement becomes ground-floor under the rear cube, allowing for a guest suite with a separate entrance. Front cube’s basement contains the garage. A linear staircase links the wings on all floors.

Down-scaling of volumes is further achieved via aesthetic differentiation between upper and lower facade zones. U-shaped metal beams on the facades circumscribe the ground-floor’s ceilings, and also extend outside the cubes’ footprints to form pergolas that integrate indoor and outdoor space on ground level. Whilst the simple cubical geometry is being presented on upper floor, it is fluidity of space that prevails on ground level, where large floor-to-ceiling windows allow for transparency throughout the whole length of the plot, merging the living rooms to the garden.

Lighting design by Athanassios Danilof, www.thanosdanilof.com