React Architects designed two summer homes in Paros that adapt to their surrounding environment and Cycladic architecture features, overlooking the sea and neighboring island of Antiparos. The residences are located on the highest point of the lot. The courtyards constitute the conjunctive element of residences. Wide stairs lead to landings in the large viewing “plateaus”, traversing indoors and outdoors spaces. Planting is enhanced on roofs and intermediate yards. In the north and south sides of houses openings only appear in courtyards. The east side is dominated by planting with local vegetation and the sight of the transverse walls.
One of the basic principles of the whole design procedure is the use of the archetypal form of the wall element familiar in Cycladic landscape, sometimes as a limit and sometimes as an element of habitation.
Strong is also the adaptation to the environment and the dissolution of boundaries between lived and natural spaces, along with the integration of the interior of the building with the courtyards, the accesses and the stairs. The bigger volumes are split with small movements to create courtyards sheltered from the strong northerly winds. In the courtyards, mulberries are planted to provide shade.
The design of a single plane facade was avoided through elongated openings piercing the transverse walls to set the sights and to create spaces with visual continuity. The result is a residential complex which leaves intact the natural landscape and adapts to the slope of the plot, so that the east side is almost buried. The Cycladic light is dominant, along with shades of blue and intense shadows created while moving trough walls, spaces and landscape. In a way, one can say that the design of these buildings has transformed them into “viewing tools”.