Going through all the 84 projects for the FRAME Awards as a jury member, I am surprised by how many projects play with the absence of color. However, this Greek summer house is one of the few submissions where I don’t mind. One of the reasons we share the project today is that we consider the idea of creating a refuge for inner reflection and disappearing from ‘civilization’ for a while has been well translated in this project.
How could a home and oasis of wellbeing look like?
Sitting on the ridge of the hill of Aleomandra in Mykonos, yet almost entirely hidden from view, Villa Mandra commissioned to K Studio, looks straight out to sea and the sunset over the neighboring island of Delos. A 6-bedroom holiday house (600m2) built for a young, dynamic couple to enjoy with their family and friends celebrates its spectacular view from a grounded viewpoint blended into a sensitively landscaped, stone-walled garden that screens it from the road behind.
The house is built upon the idea of slow, laid-back summer living and encourages mindful connection with family, friends and the freedom to exist peacefully in nature. Form follows emotion rather than function, as every space becomes another opportunity for rest, reflection, and exploration.
To create a house that would allow guests to enjoy being outside throughout the day, we needed to filter the overwhelming intensity of the climate by providing shade and protection from the elements. Inspired by the humble complexity of the traditional island vernacular, we reduced the architecture to 2 small traditionally whitewashed volumes. This courtyard becomes the focal point of the house, seamlessly connected to the living room and kitchen volumes and looking over the pool and gardens beyond. Beneath the pool garden are the private bedrooms, separated for privacy and quietly enjoying the uninterrupted view over the lower garden to the sea. Their separation further reduces the overall impact of the house and cleanly divides social and private space.
Key to the house’s character is the palette of traditional materials such as lime-wash, stone, and wood that have been applied and engineered with contemporary techniques to create un-nostalgic architecture that bridges heritage and locality with contemporary life. Hand-built stone walls are sharply confident; traditionally rendered, round-edged volumes are perfectly flat and smooth. The customary chestnut pergola has been engineered to increase its structural integrity, to form a glue-lam beam lattice that sits lightly on the white volumes, shading and protecting the extensive courtyard beneath.