This modest summer home redefines vacationing in an island where the presence of the ship-building industry dominates contemporary imagination as a place of production and labor. Lack of any remarkable features and a palpable sense of ambiguity in the surrounding community, street, and in the plot itself, turn the house inwards. This inward-looking condition anchors the house around an olive tree and a well, creating courtyards that take advantage of the micro-climate and contain the outdoors within. In contrast to most of the island’s year-round residences, which tend to exhibit a makeshift, “prosthetic” approach to spatial expansion through the chronic accumulation of built add-ons, the new summer house is conceived as a form of “subtraction” from a single material volume containing sculptural voids.
Exterior walls give the appearance of a monolithic volume, concealing the existence of a large interior courtyard at the center. A single, narrow passage leads visitors directly from the front yard to the courtyard, while a secondary, twin passage leads from the courtyard to the pool garden at the opposite end of the plot. Within the central courtyard, smaller glass volumes positioned around the olive tree provide the main living spaces. These are lined with full height sliding glass doors that merge indoor and outdoor space while they control circulation from one end of the courtyard to the other. Maximum flexibility of movement is provided when all sliding glass doors are open, including the front and back gates of the house, creating a single, uninterrupted chain of outdoor spaces that extends the entire length of the site, as if splitting the house into two.
The Salamis project is included in the nominations for the European Union Prize of Contemporary Architecture, Mies van der Rohe Award 2022.