Presented with a view that's already perfect, the architect has a potential problem. How can you improve on an unending horizon? The answer, in the case of a holiday home in Pera Melana on the south-eastern Greek coast, is to take simplicity as the key to providing accommodation that both honours the surroundings and offers a simple, calming retreat from the rigours of everyday Athens for the city-dwelling owners.
Villa Melana is the work of architects Valia Foufa and Panagiotis Papassotiriou and is set on the only available plateau on a steep cliff, so that further environment-harming earthworks were kept to a minimum.
The design features a main building with exterior and interior walls faced in local Arcadian stone to cool the occupants on hot, windy days in the main open plan living area.
Floor-to-ceiling windows showcase the view. A pitched roof is exposed inside, giving the sense of a double volume space. Sliding doors open onto a covered patio, where a covered free-standing pergola offers protection from the heat.
Simple passageways connect the main stone-clad building with two white-washed pavilions which contain three en suite bedrooms. These apparently simple structures reflect traditional Greek island buildings.
Outside, a pool opens out from the sliding doors of one of the bedrooms, inviting a cold plunge with the sun setting over that horizon. This apparently uncomplicated retreat took two years to build, because of the complexities provided by the setting.
The result shows the value of bespoke simplicity.
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