House in Zakynthos by Katerina Valsamaki Architects
“Ammoudi House In Zakynthos: The house is located in the northeast corner of the Island of Zakynthos, in the summer village Ammoudi that means sandy beach and it is named after the small beach in front of the site. The house is designed for a three member family and their guests as a vacation house, but the design is flexible enough to serve as a permanent residence in the future.
The area has nothing vernacular but mainly summer dwelling sand hotels built amongst the beautiful natural landscape by the sea. The 2.5 acres plot has an irregular shape and a smooth slope. The plot faces a municipal low traffic road to the west, whilst it opens up to the sea to the east. The plot is densely planted, especially at its boundaries, with trees and vines creating a privategarden.
The design is focused on integrating the building into the surrounding landscape of low vegetation, vineyards and olive trees, whilst ensuring that all significant areas of the house have a view of the sea. This parameter, dictated a mainly linear arrangement, where the living spaces are developed in the center and the sleeping areas are located on either side of the central space. The position, orientation and the height of the building make it almost invisible from the street, while it opens up completely to the sea.
The house is composed of three low volume sections following the gentle natural slope of the site and its height gradually increases from the road into the plot. This composition reduces the impact of the building volume on the natural and the built environment, since the long composition of the house is never perceived at once.
The lowest section near the road is integrated with the southwest pergola that defines the entrance and it also connects all the sections together.A catwalk parallel to the southwest façade extends through a semi covered courtyard into the entrance of the house. The courtyard acts as part of the garden and it is directly accessible from the office/guestroom.
The main-central volume, which accommodates the living-communal areas,opens out through the large glazed screens to the sea and the stepped garden on the east and to the courtyard and the olive garden on the west. The internal spaces are visually extended with the construction of the pergolas. The transparency of the parallel glazed surfaces, which occupy the entire height of the space, strengthens the visual penetrability and eliminates the boundaries between the interior and the exterior. The occupants are fully in contact with nature and the changes of the natural light throughout the day and the year. All internal living areas can be converted into a large outdoor covered space when the sliding glass panels are opened. The spatial continuity is further reinforced by the uniform layering of the floor tiles from the inside to the outside.
The visual extension of the interior spaces is repeated by the stepped volumes of the sleeping areas.
Indoor and outdoor, shaded or open spaces constitute three unities in relation to the functions of the house, to the expression of the degree of privacy and orientation.”
Photos by: Katerina Valsamaki Architects & Konstantinos Thomopoulos