Own House, Office and wife's Dental SurgeryEdit profile
The house is built between two narrow streets in the old part of the town, about 50m from one of the most popular stretch of sandy beach in Limassol, Cyprus. The land was previously occupied by a carob mill that burnt down in a fire in 1989, leaving only the ruins of some of its stone walls. The building is in three parts. -A three storey building block containing the bedrooms and kitchen. -A two storey building block containing the offices of my Architectural practice and my wife's dental surgery. -The space between the two blocks, containing the living room. AIMS -The aim was to create a family home for me, my wife and our four boys. For convenience, we wanted our place of work to be right next door. For privacy, it had to have separate entrances, but also needed to be connected to the house internally. -The building had to fit into it's surrounding enviroment of mostly traditional two storey stone and adobe single family dwellings. At the same time I wanted it to be modern, learning from traditional architecture, but not copying it. -To continue developing my own architectural vocabulary and create architecture that originates from exploring how we can recreate experiences that touch our senses. -Last but not least, I wanted to apply ecological solutions to both heating and cooling. ARCHITECTURAL VOCABULARY Like music, Architecture needs to touch our sences. To do this, opposites need to be present. In music is alegro/adagio, melody/beat. In architecture, is open/enclosed, dark/brightly lit, hot/cold, hard-soft, heavy-light. Is these opposites that wake up our senses and give us a sense of belonging. The house is full of these opposites. There is no facade to the building. No front. It's is a series of experiences, one merging into the other, one reinforcing the other. This is the way I design architecture. Instead of developing ideas based on form and silhouette, I begin to thing about architecture from the level of the experience. What sort of experience is appropriate for each location. I consider every one of our five senses separately including the sense of touch on the soles of our feet. Also the effect of light and shadow and how they change during the course of one day, but also how they change with the passing of the seasons. In the main entrance to the house for example, the visitor passes through a narrow opening and enters a small dimly lit space. Your eye is drawn towards the brightly lit pool space at the end of the internal courtyard, drawing you inside and giving you a sense of joy-a crescendo. Another example can be seen on the bridge over the living room and hallway. The verticality of the hallway, directs your attention upwards. As you walk on the bridge from the hallway to the living room, you go past an opening on the fair-faced concrete wall. At that point, because of the living room horizontal flat roof joints, your attention is directed towards the internal courtyard garden, connecting you to nature and giving you a sense of openness that is reinforced by the sound of the water and the smell of the plane trees. This is the way that the traditional mediteranean builders used to design internal and external spaces. All was in line with the nature of things and the human body. ECOLOGICAL SOLUTIONS The house does not have a conventional cooling system. It is cooled by a combination of elements. Good insulation, traditional ceiling fans, shaded roof windows and a hallway rising up three storeys, drawing hot air out using the stack effect principle. Large trees in the internal garden and correct building orientation, give shade. The water from the fish ponds and swimming pool that cover the 65% of the internal garden area, evaporates providing additional cooling. At night the cooler air from the mountains sinks through the open roof lights. The main bedroom has it's own special cooling system. A geothermic system where using a small fan, air is drawn from the bedroom through 30cm diameter pipes burried underground. The air comes back in the room providing a comfortable temperature. The children’s bedrooms face west and could have been very hot at night. This is not so, because they are constructed of lightweight materials -steel and wood- that do not store and therefore emit heat back into the room. This idea is taken from traditional houses which had a room, usually on the first floor of the building, built of lightweight materials and used for sleeping in the hot summer nights. Heating is achieved via a diesel boiler. This is assisted by 8 racks of solar heated vacum tubes, that heat the living room underfloor heating system.