Location: Athens, Greece
VOULA is a house for a family of three: a mother with a love of books; a father who is also a physicist; and their teenage son. The allure of the program owes itself to a range of ‘special interests’ that are both extroverted (a place to throw a party) and introverted (a place to view the stars through a telescope, a nest overlooking the garden). The house is a microcosm, positioned at the foot of Mount Hymettus, overlooking the sea and the coastal suburb of Voula.
The biggest challenge to the design is the reverse slope of the plot, descending from street level, away from the view. The design turns this feature into an advantage, distributing domestic programs in section to create three distinct layers: the lowest level is private but open to the garden at the back; the top level is oriented to guests, with an open platform looking out to sea; and the middle layer floats as a solid prism of exposed concrete, where sculpted voids engage the most private areas of the house.
Unlike the white-box villas that in recent decades have dominated the city’s privileged southern suburbs, the House in Voula proposes a more playful and contextual reading of this modernist stereotype.