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YEAR: 2023


The house is located in the south-eastern suburbs of Nicosia, on a plot of a new urban neighborhood. To the south lies the familiar urban chaos of the city composed of scattered residential buildings in an inhomogeneous arrangement. To the north the vast agricultural fields highlight the extensive horizon offering unobstructed views of the trapezoidal hill of Aronas. The program is typical: a two-story house with 3 bedrooms for a young family of four. This house is the result of a design process that seeks to reinterpret the courtyard typology found in traditional residences in Cyprus, through the contemporary ways of domestic living.

The proposal consists of two main elements: a rectangular prism and a vertical wall that surrounds and embraces the prism. The prism with a plan of 12X10 meters, is elaborately sculpted in relation to the vertical and horizontal axes. By removing pieces from its solid mass, a blank space emerges, around which the functional units of the house are arranged. Like a three-dimensional canvas, the void introduces unexpected views of the horizontal landscape and fragments of nature inside the house. It collects natural light from above, offers cross ventilation and negotiates the limits of the public and private spaces of the house. In functional terms, the residence is developed on two levels. A living room, a kitchen and a small guestroom are located on the ground floor. The first floor comprises two individual bedrooms with a shared bathroom and one ensuite bedroom.

The vertical wall, 3.5 meters high, is placed at a distance of 3 meters from the street occupying the entire width of the plot. It operates as a strict and rigid boundary that embraces the prism and opposes the discontinuous and noisy urban neighborhood. Three openings on the surface of the wall control the views enjoyed from the house. Behind the wall there is a hidden central square. This is an inner courtyard that welcomes guests and dwellers, opening up to social life. In the center of the square, an olive tree has been transplanted from the village, raising memories of loved ones.

Upon the external white walls, the intense Mediterranean light is reflected, projecting and highlighting special moments from the family’s everyday life. Horizontal seating surfaces of exposed concrete run through the interior and exterior spaces of the residence, underling the continuity between inside and outside and encouraging unexpected social encounters. When the wall intersects with the prism, small courtyards are generated with unique characteristics of micro-environment. Cypriot vegetation has been planted in all outdoor spaces. Over time, nature will erode the monolithic structure of the house, claiming its presence in the everyday life of the family.

The wall and the prism ultimately operate as a unified synthetic gesture. Their synergy generates a dialogue rich in contradictions between solidity and porosity, privacy, and exposure, desire, protection and intimacy.

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