On our initial visits to Antiparos we gravitated to the site of Cliffhanger for its raw dramatic qualities. Due to its steep topography, the exposure to the strong northern wind and its frontal visual relationship to the sea, the plot gives the sensation of hanging on an edge almost touching the sea. For the design of the house this meant a simultaneous need to provide safety from the elements while also revealing this unique sensation. This way, the focus became to provide a rich diversity of well-defined living experiences carefully 'stitched' into the landscape. Upon arriving, the approach to the house occurs on a path along the slope giving one an overview of the spaces and a sense of openness. The path then turns, lowers and cuts into the earth, reaching the view of the pool which merges visually with the sea horizon. At that point, behind, is a beautiful stone wall that slopes to match the existing topography: the steeper the slope the more the wall leans back to open to the sky. The wall also twists around so that, in conjunction with the house, it organizes a sequence of exterior living spaces of different scales and degrees of privacy and enclosure. The house itself is composed of two volumes (a white volume and a stone volume) which sit at the edge of the slope. Above the white volume is an exterior sitting space used on calm days to enjoy the view towards the sunset. The upper floor of the white volume is an open living/dining/cooking area that flows directly to the protected exterior courtyard. This space also leads into the bedrooms both on the floor below it and to the side, inside the stone volume. Within the living room a large opening frames the view towards the sea that contains the original sensation of hanging on the edge. In summary, Cliffhanger is a landscape of multiple experiences through which one can comfortably maintain a closeness with the intrinsic qualities of the place.
Project Name Cliffhanger Location Antiparos Island, Cyclades, Greece
Design / Build: decaARCHITECTURE
Team: Alexandros Vaitsos, Carlos Loperena, Kyle Gudsell, Katerina Chrissanthopoulou, Thomas Ragousis, Maria Papafigou